Scotland’s First Minister has said there needs to be an “honest broker” in the Middle East to help secure peace between Israel and Palestine.

Humza Yousaf lamented the “perpetual cycle of violence” in the region and called for a ceasefire in the current hostilities.

The two-state solution – which would allow both Israel and Palestine to exist as sovereign states – has “never materialised”, the First Minister said.

“Frankly, if we look at this issue, stepping back from the current crisis, the only way we’re going to stop that perpetual cycle of violence that we see flare up year after year after year, is by addressing the root cause,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“The root cause continues to be that, while we have an Israeli state, that was a promise that was made, we don’t have the Palestinian state yet as per the 1967 borders.

READ MORE: Conflict in Gaza could inspire terrorism in UK, says MI5 chief

“So that two-state solution that many of us have talked about for decades has just never materialised.

“Until there is a concerted effort, until – frankly – there is an honest broker that is able to help to broker that solution, we are going to unfortunately, I fear, see those perpetual cycles of violence continue for many years to come.”

The latest violence has resulted in an explosion at a hospital in Gaza City, with hundreds feared dead.

Hamas immediately blamed an Israeli airstrike for the destruction seen at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital, while Israel claimed a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket was the cause.

Mr Yousaf called for an independent investigation into what he called a “complete and utter human tragedy”.

“I think everybody has a responsibility to condemn it and condemn it in the strongest possible way,” he said.

“It’s a complete breach of international law – the targeting of a hospital.

“There should be an independent investigation to find those who are responsible for it.”

Calling for a ceasefire, he added: “People are rightly outraged, in the region and right across the world, and (it is) just a complete an utter human tragedy.”

Hostilities – sparked by an attack on Israel by Hamas more than a week ago – began while Mr Yousaf’s parents-in-law were visiting family in Gaza.

He and his wife Nadia El-Nakla have been candid about their fears for the safety of Elizabeth and Maged, as well as extended family in the area, with an Israeli rocket hitting the home across the road from theirs on Tuesday.

“We are just torn apart with worry as you can imagine, because their supplies are low,” he said.

He added: “Yesterday an Israeli missile hit a house across the road from my mother-in-law and father-in-law’s house and it shattered every window… broke all the mirrors and gave them a real fright.

“And so my mother-in-law told me she just didn’t sleep a wink last night with worry.”