SNP criticised over its contradictory stance on Palestine

  • Post last modified:February 29, 2024
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Campaign group Palestine Action had highlighted a stark hypocrisy at the heart of the SNP over Palestine. On the one hand, one of its MPs has been calling for the UK to stop arms sales to Israel – while on the other. the Scottish ‘justice’ system is charging three protesters who tried to do exactly that.

Palestine Action: SNP-led state prosecuting them

On 21 February 2023, SNP MP Anum Qaisar spoke in Parliament to demand the UK stop arms exports to Israel, highlighting the use of British weaponry including laser targeting systems in Israel’s F-35 fighter jets. Simultaneously, Scotland are pursuing charges against three activists from Palestine Action for occupying Leonardo’s Edinburgh factory, manufacturers of the targeting systems mentioned.

On January 19 2023, three activists occupied and dismantled the roof of Leonardo’s weapons factory in Edinburgh. By doing so, they forced the factory closed and caused severe disruption to the production of laser targeting systems. The factory is touted by Leonardo as a specialist in ‘high-energy military lasers’, which are rigged to F-35 fighter jets, regularly used before and October 7th on deliberate attacks on Palestinian civilians.

For doing so, the three face an array of charges including malicious mischief and breach of the people. They will be on trial from April 2-5 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Just where does the SNP stand?

Since 7 October, Israel’s F-35 fighter jets have been a staple in their genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people. In response, MP Anum Qaisar spoke in parliament to say:

Gaza is under siege from the air and the F-35 steal bomber often referred to as the most lethal fighter jet in the world, is being used. Parts for this fighter jet, the laser targeting system and the weapons release system are made in British factories…

Politics is all about choices. The UK government has a choice to stop or suspend arms export licenses to Israel, and there’s precedent far less… It’s morally corrupt, outrageous and sickens me to my core that the UK continues to sell arms to Israel.

In a previous case against activists from Palestine Action who occupied Thales’ weapons factory in Glasgow, three were found guilty of ‘malicious mischief’ after being disallowed to defend their actions as justified as they were done to save lives – a long established law. During the ongoing genocide in Gaza, Scotland remains complicit by allowing these factories to continue operating and criminalising those who act to stop them.

Practice what you preach

A Palestine Action spokesperson said:

Palestine Action are ready and willing to put our liberty on the line to shut down weapons companies such as Leonardo, in solidarity with the Palestinian people. However, it can not go unnoticed when political statements made contradict the prosecutions being pursued against those who are acting to stop the genocide in Gaza.

The SNP should practice what they preach and call for the charges to be dropped.

Featured image via Martin Pope/Palestine Action

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