AN SNP MSP has been accused of “vile” behaviour after he described the 1948 exodus of 750,000 Palestinians, or Nakba, as a “self-inflicted tragedy”.

Richard Lyle, deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Building Bridges With Israel group, made the controversial claim in a Holyrood motion. The Scottish Greens’ Ross Greer accused Lyle of “blaming the victims of ethnic cleansing for the crimes committed against them”.

The Morning Star revealed the Uddingston and Bellshill MSP had tried to attach the phrase to a motion condemning the Nakba tabled by fellow SNP MSP Sandra White. Lyle claimed his amendment was “designed to provoke discussion”.

Nakba, meaning “catastrophe”, refers to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing or being expelled from their homes in 1948 after Israel declared independence.

Earlier this month, White lodged a parliamentary motion to mark the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba on May 15.

It said the “mass eviction of over 750,000 people from historic Palestine land, which included the destruction of over 500 towns and villages ... led to generations of pain for the Palestinian people, who continue to live under a state of occupation”.

Last week, Lyle tabled an amendment to the motion which said Nabka was “a self-inflicted tragedy, which must, after all these years, be finally resolved by peaceful means and discussions between the parties involved”.

The amendment has so far been supported by Tory MSP Adam Tomkins, and fellow SNP MSP David Torrance.

Nadia El-Nakla, convenor of SNP Friends of Palestine, said Lyle’s remarks were “not just a revision of history but also an insult to every Palestinian worldwide”.

In a statement El-Nakla wrote: “It is disgraceful to suggest the Nakba and subsequent occupation which has led to the killing of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children is somehow self-inflicted.

“The abhorrent disrespect towards the Palestinian people is racist and hate-filled.”

Lyle said: “I implore the Palestinian and Jewish peoples to sit down and negotiate a two state solution and end the bloodshed.”

“My amendment was designed to provoke discussion. If we in Scotland can’t have a constructive dialogue and examine the arguments from both sides, what chance have the warring sides after 72 years of conflict.”