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Agenda:

On a good day, standing on the roof of my building allows a view over to the historic Mount Herodium and, even further away, the Dead Sea and the dramatic mountain border with Jordan.

On a bad day, when the sand is masking the sky, those views are shrouded and hidden but some aspects of the landscape cannot be so easily disappeared; to the east the Israeli military complex and watchtower remain, to the west the ever expanding illegal settlement of Har Homa.

As a Scot and, thus, a British citizen living and working in the occupied Palestinian territories, it is impossible to ignore the historical role the UK and its foreign policy played in the creation of the political situation and conflict here.

Furthermore, the status quo of a devastating military occupation in the West Bank remains backed by the impotence of Western countries and global governance organisations controlled by them. The UK is an important actor in this. Scotland need not be.

As part of the UK, Scotland has had a role in the untasteful pallet of past and present UK foreign policy, but that does not mean it should blindly continue to do so.

A Yes vote in September could create an opportunity for Scotland to join the ranks of those many small states around the world that, with no illusions of grandeur, prefer to view the world through a more ethical and humanistic lens.

States acts in self-interest in order to ensure their continued existence. Foreign policy is an integral aspect of this but that does not mean self-interest is in opposition to an ethical foreign policy.

Indeed, since the turn of this century, war in Iraq, Afghanistan and a continued persistence in ignoring much injustice around the world when it doesn't suit specific allies have isolated the UK.

With that has come security threats. The UK is not the power it once was yet Westminster appears to be deluded in this. Aggression and an absence of ethics are not the only way to participate in global politics.

Debates around Scottish independence should, of course, include the economic arguments, the future of Trident, currency union and a democratic deficit but foreign policy must also be an important consideration.

Freed from the foreign policy constraints of Westminster, something only full independence can achieve can help create an outward-looking nation state; one that is not, like Westminster, easily bullied to take part in illegal wars or is under the false belief that it is still such a relevant actor in the world that it can do as it wishes outwith the realm of ethics.

Instead, Scotland can mimic the soft power credentials of states such as Sweden, whose open-door policy for Syrians fleeing war has endeared people around the world to the country.

Let us welcome the world to Scotland instead of helping to build a barrier to the world that Westminster, and xenophobic populism fuelled by the likes of Ukip, seeks to construct.

We can truly be proud of our nation only when, collectively, we stand up and show that Scotland will rise against injustice throughout the world. The constraints of 21st-century politics mean this is easier said than done.

But if we choose to continue to be bound by the foreign policy of the UK, we will miss the chance to at least try, as an independent country, to make amends for the past while building a more just form of interaction between other countries around the globe.

My hope is that, one day, my citizenship will be affiliated to a country that helps brings down the military watchtowers that loom over the West Bank.

I hold little hope that the UK will ever be a positive actor in this. Perhaps an independent Scotland can be.

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Local government

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