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Scotland Stands with Palestine

By Neville Rigby

The plight of Palestinians was brought into sharp focus when former Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf appeared in headlines and on the nation’s television screens, visibly distraught over the fate of his wife Nadia’s parents.

His in-laws, Elizabeth and Magen El-Nakla, who live in Dundee, were visiting family when they found themselves trapped as war broke out in the early days of Israel’s October onslaught on Gaza. They left in early November and just a few weeks later the Scottish Parliament voted to demand an immediate ceasefire and that the UK officially recognize the state of Palestine.

Scotland has a long history of support. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) was formed in 2000 during the second Intifada and has been a driving force, spearheading the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. One of its founders, Mick Napier, at the age of 76, remains the most dynamic leader of the SPSC’s protest actions, despite being the frequent target of court prosecutions against him. In January prosecutors dropped a “terrorism” charge but maintained an “unauthorized demonstration” charge with bail conditions banning him from the city center of Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city.

Glasgow University’s new rector, Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, installed in mid-April after winning 80 percent of the student votes, accused the university of investing in arms companies supplying Israel. At St. Andrew’s University, the newly elected rector, Stella Maris, has faced demands for her resignation after she posted a message condemning Israel’s genocide.

All over Scotland, communities have stepped forward to protest against the slaughter in Gaza, including the Highland Palestine group, which succeeded in its campaign to get its local council to drop its pension fund investments from arms manufacturers.

The independence-supporting daily newspaper, The National, which maintains the most detailed coverage of the war in Gaza, raised more than £100,000 for Medical Aid for Palestinians in a matter of weeks.

  • A former Fleet Street journalist, Neville Rigby also spent many years campaigning with international NGOs on nutrition and health policies in many parts of the world, visiting the Middle East as a consultant with the World Health Organization. When he is not busy as the resident wordsmith for his wife Jane Frere’s Druimarts Studios, he enjoys taking his camera into the great outdoors around Loch Ness. He is a long-standing supporter of Highland Palestine, a network of people in the Scottish Highlands who support the Palestinian struggle for equal rights.

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