Posted on June 11, 2024, by & filed under News.

The following notes were prepared by the Scottish Palestinian Forum.

The huge demonstrations around the country and the widespread student encampments, indicate that the current bombardment of Gaza and the ongoing Israeli occupation is of concern to a wide range of the electorate.

During the election campaign no politician should be allowed to escape from making clear statements about Palestine, particularly the genocide in Gaza.

We encourage you to write to candidates in your constituency – you can find your candidates by going to and entering your postcode. Most candidates have contact details on this site. Please also raise the issue with candidates or party canvassers who may come to your door.

We offer an outline of a letter in the box below and below some key points which you may also wish to include.

Dear [Candidate’s Name],

My name is [Your Name and postal address] and I am a constituent in [Your Constituency]. As you may know, the issue of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, particularly the ongoing bombardment of Gaza,  is of significant concern to many of us.

I am writing to ask if you are elected, will you commit to calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza and a cessation of arms exports to Israel;  for action to be taken by the UK government to end Israel’s 56 year occupation (including sanctions); for the UK government to recognise the State of Palestine.

Yours sincerely

[Your Name & postal address]

Some key points to include

It didn’t start on October 7th

To see what is happening in Gaza (and the West Bank & East Jerusalem) through the prism of October 7th is to ignore:

  • 76 years of dispossession. The Gaza strip was created in 1948 when the ceasefire lines were drawn. More than 80% of Gaza’s population are refugees, people (and their descendants) who were expelled or fled in 1948 from what is now Israel, in what Palestinians call the Nakba. Israel denies them the right to return to their towns & villages, a right enshrined in international law.
  • 56 years of military occupation. In 2023 alone, Israeli soldiers and settlers killed 483 Palestinians and injured 12,769 in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (Human Rights Watch). Since October 7, Israel has used the cover of the war on Gaza to step up its attacks and has become more brazen in using air power to kill Palestinians, many of them unarmed civilians.

Humanitarian pause or ceasefire?

A humanitarian pause sends a clear message that it is temporary, to secure the release of the Israeli hostages and alleviate the humanitarian emergency. Leading aid organisations and UN experts have called for a ceasefire, a cessation of hostilities. Given the scale of damage in Gaza after 8 months of bombing - damage to infrastructure, destruction of homes, hospitals, schools, universities - the rebuilding, the reestablishment of water and food supplies, needs time and a guarantee that repair work will not be attacked again.

A return to October 6th or an end to the Israeli occupation and a just peace? 

If we only look at what is happening in Gaza through the prism of 7th October 2023, any ceasefire deal may lead to the return of the Israeli hostages and the release of Palestinian prisoners (over 3,600 of them held without charge or trial) but at best we will return to the unacceptable status quo of 6th October. We need to begin to implement a comprehensive plan to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just peace.

Recognition of a Palestinian state 

Last month Spain, Ireland and Norway formally recognised the state of Palestine, joining more than 140 countries worldwide. Others, including many UK politicians, have said they support a Palestinian state, but insist Palestinian statehood should come as part of a negotiated settlement - despite the fact that the ‘peace process’ has been moribund for many years, with Israeli leaders prevaricating while increasing illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

On one hand recognition is a symbolic gesture, showing solidarity with Palestinians living under military occupation, but it would be an acknowledgement that the peace process has stagnated and a different approach is needed. Rather than seeing statehood as the end of a negotiated process, it situates statehood as a starting point for negotiations. It reaffirms international law and that there is an occupied territory.

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS)

Ending the longest occupation in the modern world, providing peace, security and a shared future for both Israelis and Palestinians requires the international community to take action – words alone are not enough. The Palestinian-led BDS movement, provides a non-violent way to mobilise international pressure on Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories. Like recognition of a Palestinian state, BDS is only supported by a small number of UK politicians.