‘NO MAN is an island.’ This column regularly refers to events in the wider world when discussing the safe, if sometimes challenging, lives that most of us are privileged to lead in East Lothian.

Across all faiths and none, the local community will have been horrified by the terror and unimaginable panic inflicted by Hamas on people sleeping in their beds one minute and massacred the next.

The people of Israel believed they were secure, free of the pogroms that disfigure Jewish history. Deepest respect is due to Scotland’s Jewish community in their shock and grief at over 1,300 deaths.

Insight into the tortured conflict in Israel and Gaza came last week via the First Minster. Humza Yousaf’s parents-in-law were visiting an elderly relative in Gaza when they were engulfed by sudden war.

Via a family video phone call, Mrs Elizabeth El-Sakla (Humza’s mother-in-law), a retired Scottish nurse, described with dignity and immense sadness the surrounding trauma, asking: “Where is the humanity in this?”

This conflict is rooted in history, including the 1970 UN General Assembly declaration asserting that “the people of Palestine are entitled to equal rights and self-determination”. Five complicated and violent decades later, conflicting rights remain unresolved, with Hamas’ crimes now met by terrifying vengeance and unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.

In an escalating crisis, 724 Palestinian children have been killed (NGO verified, October 14), a significant proportion of 2,450 Gaza fatalities. Airstrikes on Palestinian civilian evacuation convoys, impending ground attacks, Gaza denied drinking water and “pushed to the abyss” according to the UN – this is a brutal cataclysm.

The First Minister has stood by Israel’s right to defend itself but maintains that a democratic state must use its military power according to the rules of war. Both the Irish Taoiseach and Humza Yousaf have condemned Israel for inflicting on Palestinian civilians collective punishment for Hamas terror attacks, as two small nations speaking up for others’ rights. As Mrs El-Sakla said, in this intractable confrontation, humanity is absent.

The SNP conference voted unanimously to express solidarity with victims in both Israel and Gaza: antisemitism and Islamophobia have no place in modern Scotland.