UNSC 2334 – Israeli Settlements

I am proud to represent so many people in Scotland who care deeply about the peoples of the Middle East and in finding peaceful resolution to the conflict in the region. My SNP colleagues and I fully support the European Union position of a two-state solution. We firmly encourage Israel and Palestine to reach a sustainable, negotiated settlement under international law, based on mutual recognition and the determination to coexist peacefully.

My SNP colleagues and I have consistently condemned obstacles to progress in the peace process, such as the indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel or the continued expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied territories. Whilst I acknowledge and appreciate the concerns that you articulate, I welcome the UN Security Council vote which sends a clear signal that the expansion of illegal settlements within the West Bank are an obstruction to the pursuit of a successful peace process in the region. In my view, the expansion of Israeli settlements within the West Bank jeopardises the potential for a viable two state solution and a peaceful resolution to a conflict that has lasted so long and caused so much devastation to both sides.

I believe in the right of Israel to exist as a nation state and I agree with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that the international community should condemn anyone who threatens the existence of Israel. Both Israel and Palestine have a right to exist. Clearly, the conflict in this region makes this a difficult outcome to achieve. However in order to achieve a lasting peace, there can be no solution which does not address the right of Palestinians to self-determination and the right of the two states to exist side-by-side.