11 June 2024

Netanyahu is committing war crimes, says Scottish Labour leader Sarwar

11 June 2024

The Israeli prime minister is “committing war crimes” in Gaza, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has said.

The Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu has been under international pressure due to its actions in the region following the October 7 Hamas attacks.

Speaking at a BBC debate in Glasgow on Tuesday, Mr Sarwar hit out at Mr Netanyahu’s actions after being challenged by a member of the audience.

Asked what a Labour government would do about Gaza if it wins the General Election on July 4, Mr Sarwar said: “I’ve been to the Gaza Strip myself to deliver aid into the Gaza Strip before I became a politician, my views are well known.

“I believe in a two-state solution, I believe Benjamin Netanyahu is committing war crimes, I believe Hamas should be separated from the Palestinian people, I believe that we need an immediate ceasefire and immediate access to humanitarian aid.”

There also needs to be a “change of situation on the ground” for the benefit of the Palestinian and Israeli people, the Scottish Labour leader added.

Mr Sarwar’s comments about the Israeli prime minister drew applause from sections of the audience.

The comments come 24 hours after the UN Security Council endorsed a ceasefire plan for the region, which the US said had been accepted by Israel and which Hamas has welcomed, saying it was ready to work with mediators to implement the plan.

Last week, Labour pledged to recognise a Palestinian state if the party wins on July 4.

Ahead of a meeting where the party sealed its manifesto, leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “That needs to be part of the process, it’s very important we have a viable Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel.”

Asked whether this will be in the manifesto, he told the BBC: “It will be.”

Palestinians had an “inalienable right” to be recognised, he added.

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