East Lothian Courier – 16 May 2024


The horror of Gaza continues unabated. Famine now afflicting the land along with disease and illness. Hunger there isn’t caused by any natural disaster but by the unremitting war being waged against civilians by Israel.

Last week I heard from a Palestinian surgeon who’d been treating children there suffering wounds caused by white phosphorous munitions. That ignites in the atmosphere, and it was being recounted how when removing particles extinguishing flame was necessary to allow the procedure to be completed. It’s barbaric that these weapons are used against children.

Answers from UK Ministers as to what they proposed to do about it saw a shameful assertion that white phosphorus had military purposes and therefore its use wasn’t banned. Even worse was a refusal to answer on Israeli breaches of international human rights law.

As I said in Parliament last week any suggestion that this is simply a disproportionate response to the appalling Hamas attack of 7th October has long passed. Israel is operating to a plan to make Gaza unliveable, remove or extirpate the Palestinian population and at the same it’s time making incursions into Palestinian land in the Occupied Territories in the West Bank.

Its why action’s required by the UK Government. Arms sales to Israel must cease, complicity through supporting the Israeli military must stop, UNWRA aid for starving Palestinians must be restored and they should be joining with those countries seeking to stop the Israeli genocide in international forums.

Whilst there’s no sanctions being applied to Israel, last week saw further action taken against Russia. Now I unreservedly condemn Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but Russian oil is being refined and rebranded in India and is flowing in here. Neither prosecutions nor penalties have been imposed on anyone doing so. Meanwhile, Scotland’s only Refinery at Grangemouth faces closure.

Keeping it open’s essential for our industrial base and the huge number of jobs at and linked to it. But it’s also necessary for our energy security. It’s absurd to be dependent on fuel refined elsewhere when there’s so much uncertainty in the world. Scotland’s oil must be refined in Scotland.