Yousaf urges UK Government to press Israel for ceasefire

Humza Yousaf has urged the UK Government to demand a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Humza Yousaf has urged the UK Government to demand a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Scotland’s First Minister has urged the Foreign Secretary to call for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.

In a letter to James Cleverly on Tuesday, Humza Yousaf urged him to use the positive relationship between the UK and Israel to push for civilians in Gaza to be allowed to leave.

It comes as Mr Yousaf’s in-laws remain in Gaza, where he said on Monday they are currently “trapped”.

He wrote: “Too many innocent people have already lost their lives as a consequence of these completely unjustifiable and illegitimate attacks by Hamas.

“However, innocent men, women and children cannot, and should not, pay the price for the actions of a terrorist group.

“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.

“Furthermore, it should open a humanitarian corridor into Gaza to allow supplies, including food, fuel, water and medical supplies for those civilians who are trapped, helpless and cannot leave.”

Following the deadly attack on Israel by Hamas on Saturday and subsequent reprisals, hundreds have been killed and thousands wounded, with the Government in Jerusalem saying they would put Gaza under siege.

Mr Yousaf went on to call on the international community to “be proactive and work towards an immediate ceasefire and a long-lasting peace that sees Israelis and Palestinians treated as equal”.

The First Minister spoke on Monday about how his wife’s parents were stuck in Gaza after a visit to her 93-year-old grandmother.

He told the PA news agency: “Despite the best efforts of the British Foreign Office, nobody, nobody can guarantee them safe passage anywhere.

“I’m in a situation where night by night, day by day, we don’t know whether or not my mother-in-law and father-in-law – who have nothing to do, as most Gazans don’t, with Hamas or with any terror attack – whether they will make it through the night or not.”