Around 20 pro-Palestinian protesters are staging a sit-in at the Scottish Parliament calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
The activists gathered at the public lobby area of Holyrood as the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) heard South Africa’s case accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
Israel strongly denies these claims.
Speaking to STV News, one protester said those at the demonstration were not planning on disrupting the parliament.
Salsabil El-Awaisi said: “Today is a really important day. South Africa brought a case at the ICJ against Israel, their genocide in Palestine.
“It’s really important that we are supportive of the South African case at the ICJ.
“We have a letter here for Humza Yousaf because last week he called out the genocide.
“We want to support this and we want him to do more.”
She added: “We are here to support the SNP and Humza Yousaf in his call for a ceasefire.”
Last week, Yousaf claimed that statements from Israeli ministers about the resettlement of the population of Gaza and for Israeli settlements to be established in the region was the “textbook definition of ethnic cleansing”.
He told Sky News: “We have heard statements from senior ministers in Netanyahu’s government – the finance secretary, the national security minister – very senior members of Netanyahu’s government, and they have made statements that the population of Gaza should be resettled, moved out of Gaza, and gone as far as saying that Israeli settlements should now be in Gaza.
“If that is not tantamount to ethnic cleansing then I don’t know what is.
“And I think political leaders should stop beating around the bush, [and] should call what they’re seeing in Gaza by what it is.
“And we are seeing not only a humanitarian crisis but we are now seeing senior members of the Netanyahu government making statements that are, frankly, the textbook definition of ethnic cleansing.
“And that should be condemned in the strongest possible manner.”
South Africa’s claims of genocide against Israel are being heard on Thursday at the ICJ.
Israel has vehemently denied the allegations even ahead of the opening arguments at the UN court in The Hague.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a video statement on Wednesday night defending his country’s actions and insisted they had nothing to do with genocide.
"I want to make a few points absolutely clear:— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) January 10, 2024
Israel has no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population.
Israel is fighting Hamas terrorists, not the Palestinian population, and we are doing so in full compliance with international law. pic.twitter.com/amxFaMnS0P
“Israel has no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population,” he said. “Israel is fighting Hamas terrorists, not the Palestinian population, and we are doing so in full compliance with international law.”
He said the Israeli military is “doing its utmost to minimise civilian casualties, while Hamas is doing its utmost to maximise them by using Palestinian civilians as human shields”.
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