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Palestinian ambassador to the UK welcomes the Edinburgh Call to Action on Palestine

March 20, 2019, midnight

A gathering of British public figures launched in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, a call to action titled “Towards an independent Palestinian state: A Scottish call to action” to lobby the UK government to recognise the state of Palestine and help in ending the siege of Gaza.

The call, which was read by Scottish poet Christine de Luca, said: “We acknowledge Britain’s historical responsibilities in the Holy Land, from before the Balfour Declaration through the British Mandate to today. Gaza was, is, and always will be, an integral part of Palestine. Past British responsibility for present injustice demands British engagement to work urgently for a better future.

H.E. Dr Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK, welcomed the call, saying it was a “public response to the Balfour Declaration”. He added that the location of the call adds to the significance of the call, having been issued at the birthplace of former British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, who issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

Dr Zomlot went on to say that his latest visit to Scotland showed the magnitude and depth of support for Palestine by the Scottish people. “The people-to-people ties cannot be broken,” he said.

The organisers of the call will seek to debate at the Scottish parliament a set of measures that should be taken by the British government. These include the end of the Gaza blockade, Jerusalem as capital for two states and the recognition by the UK Government and European partners of the state of Palestine alongside Israel.

Sir Vincent Fean, the chair of trustees of the Balfour Project and former British Consul-General in Jerusalem, said: “Last week in Scotland the Balfour Project gathered 700 people together to affirm the need to end the Occupation of 1967. In Edinburgh the result was ‘Towards an independent Palestinian State: a Scottish Call to Action - six steps for Britain to encourage and take’.

“An essential, urgent step is British Government recognition of the State of Palestine on pre-June 1967 lines. The movement in favour of recognition of Palestine is very strong in Scotland. Our task is to spread the word across the United Kingdom.”

Around 700 British figures including former diplomats, members of parliament and civil society figures took part in the launch of the call in two separate events held in Glasgow and Edinburgh on 14 and 17 March, respectively.

The two events included presentations and panels on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the humanitarian and political ramifications of the siege of Gaza and the Palestinian territories. The participants included, among others, UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Palestine Jamie McGoldrick, Dr Philippa Whitford MP, Palestinian film-maker Dr Imad Karam, former Israeli ambassador to South Africa Ilan Baruch and Dr Ibrahim Khadra.

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