Scotland has announced its readiness to welcome refugees from Gaza and treat injured civilians in Scottish hospitals amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The country’s first minister, Humza Yousaf, made the offer on Wednesday in a video message posted on X, formerly Twitter. He said Scotland was willing to be the first country in the UK to offer safety and sanctuary to those who want to and are able to leave Gaza. He also urged the UK government to set up a refugee resettlement scheme and support the medical evacuation of wounded Gazans.
Yousaf, whose wife is Palestinian, said his in-laws were trapped in Gaza, where Israel has been bombing Hamas targets since October 7. He said his brother-in-law, who is a doctor in Gaza, had witnessed scenes of horror and carnage. He said hospitals were running out of medical supplies and doctors had to make difficult decisions about who to treat and who to leave to die.
He said Scotland had welcomed refugees from Syria, Ukraine and other countries in the past and was ready to do so again. He said Scotland was also ready to play its part in treating the injured men, women and children of Gaza in its hospitals. He said he had written to the UK foreign secretary, Rishi Sunak, to ask him to take urgent action.
He said he was clear that the life of a Palestinian was equal to the life of an Israeli and condemned the actions of Hamas. He said Israel had the right to defend itself but any form of collective punishment in Gaza was unjustified and violated international law. He said about 500 people were killed in an attack on al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday night.
He said the world must commit to a global refugee program for Gaza to help the one million people displaced by the war. He said Scotland was willing to be a place of sanctuary for those who needed it.