An SNP MP has written of his frustration at the lack of action from Westminster to help the Palestinian people following the shambolic ceasefire vote.

There were chaotic scenes in the Commons last month, when Speaker Lindsay Hoyle ignored convention to allow a vote on a Labour amendment to an SNP opposition day motion.

That effectively stopped MPs from being to vote on the SNP motion as drafted, which called for an immediate ceasefire, and described the attacks by Israel on Gaza as "collective punishment."

Instead, MPs backed the amended motion which called for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" and did not use the phrase collective punishment. 

Writing in The Herald, Mr O'Hara last week's debate "was an embarrassing shambles from start to finish."

"I could only wonder what the visiting parliamentarians from Malawi thought as they looked down from the visitors’ gallery at the events unfolding below them," he added.


Read More: If the international order can't protect Palestinians how can it protect any of us?

Mr O'Hara said when the debate did finally start, "the chamber was in turmoil."

"The moment to discuss, and debate meaningfully, the urgent and immediate ceasefire in Gaza was gone.

"The need for a ceasefire, the desperate plight of innocent Palestinian civilians, and the upholding of International Humanitarian Law took second place to internal party politicking by the Labour leadership and Westminster establishment. It was a shameful episode and one which, even after this current conflict is resolved, will be long remembered as one of the worst days in parliament. "

He said there was overwhelming evidence that there was “collective punishment” in Gaze.

"What else could it be, other than an illegal collective punishment of an entire civilian population, when an occupying force cuts off supplies of water, food, and fuel?

"What, if not an illegal collective punishment, could it be when the occupying force denies the delivery of essential medical aid to civilians caught up in a warzone.

"And how else, if not an illegal collective punishment, could the forced displacement of two million people, and the creation of the world’s largest refugee camp, be described?"

He warned that allowing the concept of "self-defence to be so manipulated by those claiming that they are ‘adhering to international humanitarian law’, then the slaughter of 30,000 innocent civilians will become the new standard of normal and set an incredibly dangerous precedent for what the world will accept next time."

Earlier this week, Labour MP Harriet Harman confirmed it was that phrase which stopped her party backing the SNP's motion. 

“Because there were certain differences in our motions – our motion wanted to absolutely condemn the terrorism and call for the hostage release, their motion had condemning Israelis for what they describe as collective punishment.”

She added: “But I think what you have got is a very important point, which is actually if you look at the three motions - the government proposition our proposition and the SNP - there was an awful lot which is the same.

“And of the things which I think Rishi Sunak could still do is he needs to get the party leaders in and say basically, most of us although there is a difference in emphasis, we are all on the same side here.




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