A HUMANITARIAN ceasefire in Gaza is needed, now. I don’t think that is a controversial statement, yet it seems to be an impossible thing to say for some people I know to otherwise be thoughtful and compassionate.

It is also time for the international community to redouble its efforts towards a viable two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, much as that seems an even more forlorn hope than usual. We are all, as human beings, appalled at the images that have come out of Israel and Palestine these last few weeks.

I grew up in the Middle East and have frequently been back and forth over the course of my life. I am a friend to Israel and I am a friend to Palestine. I’m a gay man and I would far rather live in Tel Aviv than Ramallah in the West Bank, and Hamas throw people like me off high buildings where LGBT+ people face violence and persecution.

Equally, Israeli society is one of the most complex in the world.

This is not about one side versus another, it is far more complex. Also, this is not about wrong vs right or might vs right. Everyone has hurt on their side and too many are belittling the pain of others. The Hamas terrorist attacks were despicable, utterly unjustified and will make peace harder to achieve. There is no place for their barbarous terrorism actions.

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I and my SNP colleagues have been consistent in condemning Hamas’ murder, rape and hostage-taking in the strongest possible terms. Israel has the right to exist and the right to defend itself. However, that right to defend itself comes with the responsibility to be proportionate in its response.

The collective punishment of civilians in the siege of Gaza is deplorable and leading to more innocents dying. The lack of fuel, food and clean water sanitation is already exacerbating a dangerous crisis and the longer it goes on the harder peace will be to achieve.

Israel, as a democracy, must act within the boundaries of international humanitarian law. The overwhelming majority of men, women and children in Gaza have nothing to do with Hamas and should not be punished for the terrorists’ crimes.

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No child and family should ever endure this kind of violence – and this violence will not solve the ongoing oppression and occupation in the region. Instead, the continued bombing of hospitals and treatment of civilians as collateral damage will only serve to further radicalise and perpetuate the cycle of hatred.

Figures from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has laid bare the numbers of people affected. At the time of writing, since the attacks of October 7, around 1.6 million people have been displaced across the Gaza Strip.

Citing figures from The Ministry of Health in Gaza said, as of November 10, more than 11,078 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip; two-thirds of them are believed to be children and women.

More than 27,490 people have been injured. In Israel, around 1200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed according to Israeli authorities, the vast majority on October 7. The West Bank has also been affected by violence, with 172 Palestinians, including 46 children, killed by Israeli security forces and eight, including one child, by Israeli settlers.

Palestinians are fleeing their homes in the West Bank; the map of the Middle East is being redrawn before our eyes. We have to act.

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I do not write these figures dispassionately. Each number was one person’s life. Each individual had family members and friends – children who played with their mates; teenagers who had dreams of what they would do in the world; adults who sought to do right by one another and their families. Each of them did that most human thing: they were trying to live and survive. Each one - Jewish, Palestinian and those from other communities – is no longer alive.

The cruelty of war is that it is always the innocent who suffer the most. The UK’s response has been insufficient, particularly given its historical responsibility in the region. It was the UK after all, that produced the Balfour Declaration in 1917, managed the mandate of Palestine and Transjordan – and washed its hands of the situation after the Second World War.

The SNP stand for peace, international law and the protection of innocents. It is why we have put forward an amendment to the King’s Speech which calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, in line with calls by the UN and its aid agencies.

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The amendment unequivocally condemns the horrific killings by Hamas and the taking of hostages. It reaffirms that there must be an end to the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. It calls for the urgent release of all hostages, and an end to the siege of Gaza, to allow vital supplies of food, fuel, medicine and water to reach the civilian population.

Finally, it calls on the UK Government to join with the international community in urgently pressing all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire. I would encourage all MPs from all political parties to back this amendment.

I’m big on party loyalty and party unity, but goodness me I can’t fathom how UK Labour finds itself unable to support such a straightforward expression of support for international law. There has been movement within Labour, notably Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard , and good on them, I hope others will join them, and us.

Securing a humanitarian ceasefire right now is the priority, as well as delivering humanitarian aid. The Scottish Government has been commendable in its response, both in calling for a ceasefire and providing funds for aid. History will remember how we act today in the vote in the House of Commons.

If we fail, we will all be judged.