Scotland offers 'sanctuary' to Palestinians after Israeli strike kills 500 in Gaza

A Palestinian child wounded in an Israeli air strike is carried inside the Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, on October 17, 2023. (Photo/AFP)

Scotland is willing to be the first country in the UK to offer safety and sanctuary to refugees from Gaza, First Minister Humza Yousaf has said after a deadly Israeli air strike on a hospital in Gaza killed at least 500 people and wounded countless others.

"There can be no justification for this. None whatsoever. If people cannot be safe in a hospital, where can they? This attack must be unequivocally condemned in the strongest possible manner," Yousaf said on X, formerly Twitter.

"In the past, people in Scotland and across the UK have opened our hearts and our homes. We've welcomed those from Syria, from Ukraine and many other countries…We must do so again," he added.

"There are currently 1 million people displaced within Gaza. So therefore, I'm calling today on the international community to commit to our worldwide refugee programme for the people of Gaza," he added.

Highlighting the severe strain on healthcare facilities in Gaza, Yousaf shared a personal connection to the crisis, revealing that his brother-in-law, a doctor in Gaza, had witnessed scenes of absolute carnage.

"My brother-in-law is a doctor in Gaza. When we can get through to him on the phone, he tells us of scenes of absolute carnage, hospitals running out of medical supplies, doctors, nurses having to make the most difficult decision of all who to treat and who to let die. That can't be allowed."

In light of this, Yousaf made a plea for the UK government to support the medical evacuation of wounded civilians in Gaza.

"I'm calling on the UK government to take two urgent steps. Firstly, they should immediately begin work on the creation of a refugee resettlement scheme for those in Gaza who want to and of course are able to leave. And when they do so, Scotland is willing to be the first country in the UK to offer safety and sanctuary to those who are caught up in these terrible attacks.”

"Scotland is ready to play her part in this, and our hospitals will treat the injured men, women and children of Gaza, where we can," he said.

Yousaf's relatives caught in Gaza siege on trip

On Monday, Yousaf said his wife's parents were fast running out of food and drinking water in Gaza and could die if unable to leave soon.

Yousaf's parents-in-law live in Scotland but were visiting relatives in Gaza when the latest Israel-Palestine war began.

Yousaf, 38, said Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla had limited themselves to an egg a day and sips of clean water as they rationed food so there was enough for their grandchildren.

"Their supplies are going to run out very soon. They are down to their last rations ... They are obviously thinking about the kids," he told Reuters news agency in an interview, citing information gleaned from short calls over patchy phone lines.

"If the border is not reopened, and there is no way out, people will die ... My parents (in law) - I don't think I will see them again."

More than 500 people have been killed in the Israeli air strike at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital on Tuesday, Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza, told Anadolu Agency.

The air strike came on day 11 of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, with a growing international chorus of non-governmental groups and world leaders saying the Israeli bombing campaign on the besieged enclave — including healthcare facilities, schools, homes and houses of worship — violates international law and constitute a war crime.


Source: TRT