This month I was delighted to take part in a lively cross-party discussion hosted by Friends of Al-Aqsa on the plight of the Palestinian people. The multi-faith crowd packed the hall at the IQRA Academy where we discussed what action we can take here in Scotland to put pressure on Governments.•

On the Palestinian issue more widely, I share the frustration, anger and disappointment expressed by many at the lack of progress on the Middle East Peace Process, and the violent confrontations that occur in the Occupied Palestinian Territories reminds us of the urgent need to find a negotiated two-state solution.

This is why I believe the UK and the wider international community need to do everything possible to help broker an immediate return to serious and substantial negotiations, and both sides need to avoid all acts that are harmful to the peace process.

That includes ensuring our Government maintain a clear transparent arms export system, which ensures that arms are only sold for defensive purposes and not to aid external aggression or internal repression.

I know from the many letters and e-mails I have received that there are very strong feelings on this issue and it is clear that this is also shared across the country. Every effort must be made to return both sides to meaningful negotiations, and I will continue to press the UK Government on this.

You can visit the Friends of Al-Aqsa website here:

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