I’ve been visiting Palestine and Israel for decades.

As a journalist I interviewed many of the big players – Benjamin Netanyahu, Yasser Arafat, and memorably the great Edward Said, amongst many others.

My first visit was during the first Gulf War. Saddam Hussein was firing his crude ‘scud’ rockets towards Israel. He was at the height of his powers but his missile strength was shown to be far from mighty. The Western Allies were set to drive him from Kuwait and inflict on him his first ignominious defeat.

Would this be the moment, many asked, for the Palestinians to be offered a comprehensive peace which would offer them a state with clear and agreed borders? Israel would have to offer concessions – a withdrawal from occupied Palestinian land and some right of return for refugees. But surely everyone could see that peace was the prize?

I made a documentary for the BBC exploring the options. I warned that should Israel and its Western allies not seize the moment, the Palestinians might be forced into the arms of an extremist – but then obscure – group called Hamas.

I think we all know how events played out.

It has always struck me how much Israelis and Palestinians have in common. Victims of dispossession. Warm and hospitable. And passionate about education as a means of self improvement. Both sides have their extremists including religious extremists. But they are Mediterranean peoples. Islam in Palestine isn’t remotely comparable with the Saudi model. The Palestinians have had senior female leaders like Hanan Ashrawi. And as anyone who meets leaders of Palestinian delegations around the world will know, their stance is moderate and internationalist.

How then to find words for the tragedy which has engulfed the Palestine people today? As I write Israeli bombs have killed 29,000 people. Nine thousand children have died. The death toll per head of population is greater than any conflict since the Second World War.  Gaza lies in ruins. But the world looks on paralysed.

I vividly recall Palestinians in refugee camps clutching the keys to houses their families were forced to flee in what is now Israel, when advancing Jewish troops spread terror. Palestine was then a “British mandate”. And Palestinians would, along with their old fashioned keys, show me their house deeds guaranteed by the United Kingdom and stamped with the mark of the crown.

We owe them. At the very least we owe them our voices raised in outrage at the collective punishment they are now enduring in defiance of international law. We owe them… And that is why I joined my SNP colleagues in the Westminster Parliament demanding an immediate ceasefire.

I hope we can find common voice to condemn the collective punishment of innocent civilians. We know we can’t force Israel to stop bombing. But we can apply pressure. Silence is tacit acceptance of Israel’s actions.

I can’t, in good conscience, remain silent. Embarrassed silence will not save lives. It’s time for our voices to be heard loudly and unambiguously. Enough bombing. Enough slaughter.