Humza Yousaf says Israel’s prime minister must be held to account for ‘shameful’ civilian deaths in Gaza

Humza Yousaf says Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu must be held to account for thousands of civilian deaths if he continues “indiscriminate attacks” in Gaza.

The first minister, who was visiting a new mosque in Arbroath today, released a strongly-worded statement claiming the response to deadly Hamas attacks in October is now “way beyond” legitimate.

Mr Yousaf’s in-laws were among those trapped in Gaza in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Israelis last year.

His wife Nadia El-Nakla, a Dundee city councillor, was reunited with her mum and dad when they managed to leave via Egypt in November.

Dundee resident Elizabeth El-Nakla – the mother-in-law of Humza Yousaf – made a tearful video call while trapped in Gaza. Image: El-Nakla family

‘UK must speak out’

In a statement released by the Scottish Government today, Mr Yousaf said: “The time has come for the UK Government to speak out forcefully and make it clear that Israeli action has gone way beyond a legitimate response to the appalling Hamas attack of 7 October.

“Hearing comments from an Israeli Government Minister urging displacement of Palestinians from Gaza is deeply disturbing and should be universally condemned. Gaza is Occupied Palestinian Territory and will be part of a future Palestinian state – Gazans should not be subject to forcible displacement or relocation from Gaza.

“The UK Government must make clear that Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israeli Ministers and military commanders will be held accountable for the killing of thousands of innocent civilians and the deaths of tens of thousands more from starvation and disease if Israel does not immediately cease indiscriminate attacks and allow aid to enter Gaza on the scale needed to avert a humanitarian disaster. Hamas leaders must also be held accountable for the appalling attacks against Israeli civilians on 7 October.”

The war in Gaza has cost thousands of lives. Image: Shutterstock.

Mr Yousaf said the UK Government’s call for a sustainable ceasefire made no difference on the ground.

He said the government should talk directly to Israel and indirectly with the US, a key ally.

The UN says about 1.9 million people are internally displaced in the embattled Gaza Strip.

Its relief agency warned 40% of the population is at risk of famine.

Keir Starmer reacts

Meanwhile, UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Israel alone should not be allowed to decide what happens to Gaza once its war with Hamas is over.

Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant outlined proposals for Israel to keep security control of Gaza, while a Palestinian body runs day-to-day administration.

Speaking to broadcaster LBC, Sir Keir said: “We cannot have Israeli occupation, we cannot have people displaced who cannot go back to where they came, because two million have been displaced in the last four months, that is intolerable.”

He added: “I don’t think, frankly, it is for Israel to determine what happens in Gaza. There has got to be much more international agreement on this, otherwise it simply isn’t going to work.”

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