The deadly attacks on Israeli civilians over the weekend by Hamas have displayed the very worst in human nature. The scenes of extreme violence and the scale of the loss of human life are harrowing to see and my thoughts are firstly with those who have senselessly lost their lives and loved ones. Violence, or even the threat of violence, remains an ongoing intimidation to the daily lives of innocent people who simply want the right to live in peace.
Actors on multiple sides have had a part to play in the ongoing terror ordinary people face. Occupation by force and violence does not justify terrorism. Likewise, terrorism does not justify a response that kills yet more innocent civilians.
First and foremost, we must stand with those who are innocent in this conflict: the civilian victims who have lost loved ones, been subject to extreme violence, and had their homes, businesses, and communities destroyed. The international community has a role to play in calling out all violence against civilians, no matter who perpetrates it.
There is understandably strong feeling on the ongoing violence in the region. The majority of those expressing a view, I have no doubt, do so with the best of intentions and simply want to see peace. I would urge those engaging in the discussion to do so with cool heads.
At the time of this statement, more than 1,100 people have been killed in Israel and Gaza. Supporting any measure that would stop this violence is far more important than making political points.
I stand with the people of Israel and the people of Palestine.
Kaukab Stewart MSP