Humza Yousaf’s in-laws in Gaza, Elizabeth, and Maged El-Nakla, parents of his wife Nadia El-Nakla, find themselves with only a day’s worth of supplies left, according to the first minister.
They were in Gaza visiting relatives when the attacks by Hamas on Saturday (7) began. Despite being urged to leave by the Israeli Defence Force, they have been unable to do so safely.
Now, they are trapped in Gaza along with Maged’s elderly mother, Nadia’s brother, his wife, and their four young children, all under the age of seven.
Yousaf received an update from his in-laws on Tuesday (10), describing the situation as “dire”, The Times reported.
Yousaf has condemned the “utter obliteration” of innocent people by Israel. He said that such actions cannot be justified.
“They had a terrible night, rockets were falling all around them, and the house was shaking and the children were screaming most of the night,” he said.
“According to my mother-in-law they have only one day of supplies left, and they are terrified to go out to any market given they have all been told to stay indoors.”
Initially hesitant about discussing his family’s situation amidst the recent violence, the first minister decided to speak out, emphasising the importance of highlighting the plight of innocent people in Gaza facing complete devastation.
Speaking to Holyrood magazine, he stressed that the collective punishment imposed on the people of Gaza cannot be justified.
He acknowledged the broader geopolitical context but underscored the fundamental equality of all lives involved. He said, “My message very simply is that an Israeli life is equal to a Palestinian life and a Palestinian life is equal to an Israeli life.”
Yousaf has appealed to the foreign secretary for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. In a letter addressed to James Cleverly on Tuesday, he emphasised the strong UK-Israel relationship and urged for the evacuation of civilians from Gaza.
He expressed concern over the loss of innocent lives due to Hamas’s attacks and underscored the need to safeguard civilians from the repercussions of the actions of a terrorist group.
“Innocent men, women and children cannot, and should not, pay the price for the actions of a terrorist group,” he said.
He added, “As a close friend and ally of Israel, I therefore ask the UK government to call on the government of Israel to ensure innocent civilians are protected and to put in place an immediate ceasefire to allow the safe passage of civilians through the Rafah border.”
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He also requested the government to open a humanitarian corridor into Gaza to provide essential supplies for those trapped and in need.
After the recent attack on Israel by Hamas on Saturday and the ensuing retaliation, a significant number of casualties have occurred, leaving hundreds dead and thousands injured. The Israeli government has declared a siege on Gaza in response.
The first minister, having a relative who is a doctor in Gaza, provided insights into the dire medical situation.
According to his brother-in-law, medical supplies have reached an unprecedented low and hospitals are resorting to using scraps of clothing to bandage and tourniquet wounds due to the scarcity of necessary medical resources.