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Exclusive: SNP must investigate MSP's offensive amendment on Palestine, ambassador says

THE SNP must investigate MSP Richard Lyle over his offensive amendment on Palestine presented to the Scottish Parliament last week, the nation’s ambassador to Britain has urged.

Dr Husam Zomlot said the party must denounce its member’s claim that the violent 1948 exodus of Palestinian people, known as the Nakba, was “self-inflicted.”

Mr Lyle’s intervention, which was backed only by Tory MSP Adam Tomkins, came on a motion commemorating the disaster.

Dr Zomlot, whose own father was forced from his homeland alongside more than 750,000 others during the Nakba, is the latest politician to call for an apology and withdrawal from Mr Lyle.

Hundreds of complaints have also been sent to the SNP calling for the MSP to be suspended while he is investigated.

But despite this pressure, the party has remained silent on the incident.

The ambassador said that the party must now take a “strong stance” and clarify its position on Palestine, adding that he would be writing to ministers for assurances that the issue will be dealt with. 

Speaking exclusively to the Morning Star, Dr Zomlot said: “This is a political attempt at making false assumptions and I think the SNP needs to take a very strong stance.

“We know Mr Lyle’s attempts and remarks are isolated and he speaks for himself.

“However, because of this gross insult to the truth, our humanity and common sense, such an attempt to rewrite history merits an SNP clarification and provides an opportunity to reaffirm the party’s position, given he is an elected member.”

Dr Zomlot said the matter is one for the party, but added that the “motives of such inaccurate lies” for an SNP member need to be known. 

“It’s a clear falsification of history. What is the motive? That is something for the party to find out.”

Despite being based in London, Dr Zomlot is familiar with Scotland and praised the support for Palestine from those north of the border. 

During a visit to Scotland last year — his first ambassadorial trip since being expelled from the US with the Palestinian mission in 2018 — Dr Zomlot said Scottish support for Palestine was unmatched.

“I have not encountered any nation that has supported the Palestinian nation like Scotland,” Dr Zomlot said.

“The outrage is that this is not just a rewriting of history, but that it insults Scottish values and Scottish people, more than anything else. 

“Action is required. No-one should be allowed to make such insulting remarks.

“This is an ongoing experience that we live. Mr Lyle cannot rewrite our history.”

The SNP has not responded to the Star’s requests for comment since we broke the story on Monday.

Dr Zomlot’s criticism comes as human rights campaigners discovered yesterday that council pension funds have invested more than £2 billion in companies complicit in Israel’s violations of international law. 

Research by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign revealed that 33 Local Government Pension Scheme funds invest in companies complicit in Israel’s human-rights abuses, including those manufacturing weapons used against civilian populations and those involved in Israel’s illegal settlement economy.


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