Scottish MSPs want Gaza ship

By Jessica Elgot, March 24, 2011
Palestinian naval police preparing for the arrival of last year’s Gaza flotilla in May

Palestinian naval police preparing for the arrival of last year’s Gaza flotilla in May

Scottish MSPs have launched a fundraising drive at the Scottish Parliament for a "Scottish ship to Gaza".

The appeal is for £500,000 to buy a vessel, a project co-ordinated by Glasgow Labour MSP Pauline McNeill, the convenor of the Scottish Cross-Party group on Palestine.

Scottish National Party MSP Joe Fitzpatrick said he hoped to be on the Scottish ship, which is expected to sail in May on the first anniversary of last year's Gaza flotilla.

He said: "I am looking forward to being part of the next aid flotilla to Gaza along with some of my constituents. I hope that by taking part I can show my support for the people of Gaza and raise awareness of the conditions they are living under as a result of the Israeli blockade." Other supporters include Liberal Democrat Hugh O'Donell, MSP for Central Scotland.

The ship is being organised by Theresa McDermott, a passenger on a ship in the last flotilla, who claims Israeli soldiers put a gun to her head after they boarded her boat, the Challenger.

Myer Green, of the Scottish Friends of Israel, said: "This is a futile statement, and poorly timed after the incident with the Victoria, a ship intending to smuggle arms to the Gaza Strip, which clearly shows why Israel needs to examine cargo. It's unfortunate that the launch was at the Scottish Parliament, which should distance itself."

    Last updated: 12:56pm, March 24 2011