Friday 4th June 2010 -- NO EMBARGO
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign: media release
SUPPORT FOR SANCTIONS AS SCOTS AID HEADS FOR GAZA
Alex Salmond received support for trade sanctions against Israel yesterday [Thursday 3rd June], as it emerged that a Scot is captaining the last of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
Labour’s Pauline McNeil told the First Minister that she “would support him if he went ahead with a review of trading relations with Israel”.
Mr Salmond had told a BBC Question Time audience in March that Israel’s abuse of British passports in their assassination of a Hamas official earlier this year merited more than a “diplomatic dance”.
“This has implications for example in trading relationships—you can’t have normal relationships if you believe another country has been involved in what Israel has been involved in”, he said.
During First Minister’s Questions yesterday, Mr Salmond referred to Israel’s latest action as an “atrocity on the high seas”, and said that the overwhelming majority of MSPs opposed Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.
Support for Salmond’s sanctions call is likely to have increased after it emerged that a Scot is captaining the last of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which is still en route to Gaza with a cargo of humanitarian aid that includes £750,000 of medical supplies donated from Scotland.
The cargo manifest of the HV Rachel Corrie lists 52 tons of medical equipment from Glasgow, including two pallets of wheelchairs and a further two of crutches.
Captain Eric Harcis is the only Scot on board the ship named after the 23 year-old American activist, Rachel Corrie, who was run over by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to prevent the demolition of the house of her Palestinian hosts in 2003.
Mick Napier, Chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, believes it is now inevitable that Israel will be subject to trade sanctions.
“Mr Salmond was right in March, and even more correct today. Israel’s days of being treated as a ‘normal’ state are over. It is clear to the Scottish Government and to the rest of the world that harsh criticisms are not enough. Israel must now feel the pressure of sanctions.”
The Palestine group has organised a Scottish demonstration calling for sanctions as a means to pressure Israel to adhere to international law. They are hopeful that the four Scots incarcerated by the Israeli military after Monday’s attack will be back in Scotland before Saturday’s protest which assembles at 2pm at The Mound on Edinburgh’s Princes Street.
Hasan Nowarah from Glasgow has already returned home, while another, Theresa McDermott from Edinburgh, is reported to be attending the funerals in Istanbul of some of her fellow campaigners.
Relatives of Dundee’s Ali El-Awasi expect him home on Sunday morning, but it is not clear when Glasgow journalist Hassan Ghani will return.
Notes for editors:
1. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (Intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland and elsewhere.
For further information, contact:
SPSC Chair, Mick Napier: 0131 620 0052; 07958002591
2. During First Minister’s Questions yesterday (Thurs 3rd June 2010), Labour’s Pauline McNeil MSP told Alex Salmond that he would be supported if he went ahead with the review of trading relations with Israel he had supported in March.
Pauline McNeil MSP said:
On the BBC's "Question Time" recently, the First Minister called for a review of trading relationships with Israel. How can he take that forward in his Administration? Can he act on that in any way? If he can, he will have my support and that of all Scots who demand that the blockade on Gaza be lifted and that Israel abide by international law.
3. Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond called for a review of “trading relationships” with Israel after the Mossad passport assassination scandal. He spoke on the BBC’s Question Time in Glasgow, 25th March 2010:
Salmond’s statements come 3 minutes into above clip (55 mins, 16 secs)
A 30th March 2010 SPSC media release includes a transcript of the relevant section in the editor’s notes:
See also, The Jewish Chronicle, 8th April 2010:
Alex Salmond calls for Israel trade rethink
4. A Cargo Manifest for the HV Rachel Corrie is available here:
Crew details are available here:
5. Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign called the Scottish demonstration in response to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacres.
The Demonstration assembles at the Mound Precinct by Edinburgh’s Princes Street at 2pm on Saturday 5th June 2010.
A map of the assembly point is available here:
The demonstration is supported by a wide range of groups including STUC, Scottish FBU, Scottish Friends of Palestine, Stop the War Scotland; Scottish CND; Scottish Islamic Forum, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace, Scottish Afghan Society, Glasgow Lebanese Community, and many others.
6. Scottish PSC calls on people of conscience to demand:
- an immediate end to British support for the blockade of Gaza
- the Scottish government support the call from the UN's Judge Goldstone for Israel to appear before the International Criminal Court for its crimes against humanity
- the rogue state of Israel is stripped of its nuclear weapons
- Scottish councils, universities and other institutions to boycott all Israeli produce, companies and institutions linked to the Israeli state