Alex Salmond to call for arms embargo on Israel, ahead of Scottish Independence TV debate with Alistair Darling

The demand comes after it was revealed that Israel has bombed Gaza using weapons containing British-made components

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 05 August 2014 17:37 BST
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is to call for an arms embargo on Israel
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is to call for an arms embargo on Israel (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

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Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is to back calls for Westminster to impose an arms embargo on Israel following the month-long war in the Gaza Strip, hours before he will take part in a live TV debate on Scottish Independence on Tuesday evening.

The demand will see the SNP leader become the latest UK politician to express their concern at the situation in Gaza, after Baroness Warsi announced her shock-resignation from Cabinet on Tuesday. She said she could “no longer support” what she views as the Government’s “morally indefensible” stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Mr Salmond's call comes after The Independent revealed that weapons containing British-made components are being used in the bombardment of Gaza.

While the foreign and defence policy of Scotland is not a devolved matter, and therefore decided by Westminster, Holyrood can express its position.

The statement will see Holyrood echo the sentiments of the Spanish government, which on Tuesday announced its plans to stop selling arms to Israel, days after the country's foreign minister described the war as "heart-breaking".

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish government’s external affairs minister, will officially announce the decision on Tuesday afternoon, after the Scottish cabinet’s approved the stance in the morning, the Huffington Post UK reported.

In a statement Mr Yousaf said he condemned Hamas rocket attacks but said Israeli government's response has been “heavily disproportionate as is evident by the mounting civilian death toll”.

“The UN has said that there is a strong possibility that violations of international law have occurred and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon described the shelling of a UN school in Rafah recently as a 'criminal act',” he said.

“With mounting evidence of possible violations of international law the UK must ensure that it is not complicit in the killing of innocent civilians through its supply of arms. There must be an immediate embargo on arms sales to Israel and an investigation into whether or not UK arms supplies might have been used in violations of international law.

"The Scottish government continues to offer its support wherever we can, be that through specialist medical care or providing asylum to Palestinian refugees - we stand ready to play our part as a good global citizen."

Tuesday’s debate, to be broadcast on STV, will see SNP leader Alex Salmond and chair of the Better Together campaign, former UK chancellor Alistair Darling, questioned by the station’s political editor, Bernard Ponsonby. The session will then be opened up to allow the men to cross-examine each other – during which the situation in Gaza is likely to be on the agenda.

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