First Minister urges end to Gaza strip blockade

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First Minister Alex Salmond has written to the Israeli Ambassador expressing the Scottish government’s concerns….

First Minister Alex Salmond has written to the Israeli Ambassador expressing the Scottish government’s concerns after at least nine people died when troops stormed ships trying to break the Gaza blockade; amongst those on board were Scottish journalists and aid workers.

Pro-Palestinian campaigners claimed that the soldiers opened fire when they boarded the aid-carrying ships.  The action resulted in international condemnation and has led to the UN holding an emergency session.

The First Minister highlighted the clear humanitarian needs of those people living in the Gaza strip and called for the blockade to be lifted.  He also condemned the killings and added the weight of the Scottish government to the international chorus of disapproval.

Below is a transcript of the First Minister’s letter:

His Excellency Mr Ron Prosor,
Ambassador
Embassy of Israel
London

Your Excellency,

I am writing to express the Scottish Government’s concerns over the recent events in the Mediterranean Sea and the flotilla of ships intended for Gaza.

The violence and deaths aboard the Mavi Marmara are of clear international concern. The subsequent detention of a number of UK Nationals, including a number of people who reside in Scotland is also of clear concern.

The Scottish Government would wish to add its voice to those throughout the wider international community in condemning the actions taken by the Israeli military. We also support the UN Security Council’s call for an impartial inquiry and hope that your Government will support this.

There are clear humanitarian needs in the Gaza strip and the blockade only adds to these. The Scottish Government would urge Israel to lift the blockade and allow humanitarian aid in as a matter of urgency.

Alex Salmond