Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has insisted his country is ready to receive its share of Palestinian refugees and urged the rest of the European Union to do the same.
Scotland’s leader made his remarks at a party event of the socialist Scottish National Party (SNP) on Thursday, where he called on the international community to “commit to a refugee program for the people of Gaza.”
“Currently, 1 million people are displaced in Gaza,” he told party members, adding that these people need “security and a place of refuge.”
Yousaf is the first Muslim politician to head one of Britain’s major parties, and the first Muslim to be head of government of a state in Western Europe. He has been SNP leader since March when he was installed into the position after Nicola Sturgeon resigned. He, like U.K. Prime Minister RIshi Sunak, was not voted into his position.
‘Resettlement plan for the people of Gaza’
In his speech, which was repeatedly interrupted by applause, the 38-year-old demanded “urgent steps” from the British government, saying “it should immediately create a resettlement plan for the people of Gaza.” He said that those “who want to leave the territory” should be able to do so and urged Western governments to facilitate humanitarian corridors for refugees.
“Scotland will be the first country in the United Kingdom to offer safety and sanctuary to these people who are suffering from the terrible attacks,” he added.
Supporters of Hamas, the proscribed terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip, are currently protesting throughout Europe, including in London, Berlin, and Paris, with some protests devolving into open battles with the police.
Yousaf, whose family originates from Pakistan, is married to an Arab woman whose parents live in the Gaza Strip.
His in-laws have been caught up in the current conflict with Israel and have been unable to leave the territory under siege from Israeli air strikes.