31/05/2010

Palestinian Protest

This evening I attended a hurriedly-arranged protest against the killing of people on aid ships to Palestine. I was distressed to hear that Dundee man Ali El-Awasi is on the flotilla and that his family have been unable to make contact with him yet. I do not know Ali but I do know other members of his family including his father Professor Abd al-Fattah el-Awasi. I hope that he is found safe and well soon. Ali's brother Khalid made a real plea from the heart during the protest and to hear about the reality of the situation in Palestine through the stories of his family. At tonight's rally it was great to hear that there was cross-party condemnation of the actions of the Israeli government. I was pleased to hear from my colleague Marlyn Glen MSP who spoke with real passion about this situation.

I am a member of Tayside Fire and Rescue Board and last year I was pleased to meet with a group of firefighters from Dundee's twin town Nablus. The FBU and the Fire and Rescue Service worked together to ensure that spare firefighting equipment was being sent to Palestine, I am disappointed to say that this equipment was in the flotilla and it appears will not get through.

The Shadow Foreign Secretary David Miliband has made clear that Labour condemns the killing of innocent civilians. I am a member and strong supporter of Amnesty International and I fully support their stance.

It is clear that there needs to be justice in the Middle East and that only a just peace will lead to long-lasting peace.