​Netanyahu should face ‘war crimes trial’ – SNP election candidate

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Reuters / Abir Sultan)
The Scottish National Party (SNP) general election candidate for Glasgow South has called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be tried for war crimes.

Stewart McDonald also described Israel as an “apartheid” state and publicly backed a boycott of the Jewish State.

The parliamentary candidate was speaking at a hustings debate in Glasgow in the run up to the UK general election next month.

He was responding to a question about his stance on the occupation of Palestine, according to the Common Space website.

McDonald reportedly won applause when he said: “I think we need to get Netanyahu in front of a war crimes trial.

He said he has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause and backs a two-state a solution.

The Palestinian issue was one of the things that brought me into politics. It's one of the biggest injustices still going on today and I’m a proud member of the SNP’s Friends of Palestine group,” he said.

It’s British imperialism at its worst. Where someone sits in a hall and divides up a piece of land that they’ve never visited or been to, and look at the problems that it causes.

If it looks like apartheid then I’m going to call it apartheid and that’s what it looks like to me. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is worthwhile pursuing and is one of the things I really hope to move forward on.

McDonald’s mention of British imperialism is a reference to the UK’s historical involvement in the foundation of the Jewish State.

In 1917, the UK’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour promised British support for the foundation of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, which was under British mandate at the time. This became known as the Balfour Declaration.

The SNP manifesto has pledged to support official recognition of Palestine and will pressure the UK government to pursue a two-state solution.

Labour candidate Tom Harris expressed a different opinion to McDonald, instead blaming the Gaza conflict on the Palestinian group Hamas.

“I’ve been a long-term supporter of the two state solution. We need Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel and recognize Israel’s right to exist. When that happens then I would hope to see a removal of the blockade in Gaza,” Harris told the audience.

Harris added he would rather Israel deal “with the democratically elected Palestinian Authority.”

An SNP spokesperson said “This is Mr. McDonald’s personal view.

Glasgow South is currently held by Labour, but the SNP is expected to take the constituency in the election on May 7.