Scotland’s Humza Yousaf says UK doesn’t value Palestinian lives like Israeli ones

Comments come as first minister's in-laws remain trapped in Gaza.

Scotland’s Humza Yousaf says UK doesn’t value Palestinian lives like Israeli ones

EDINBURGH — Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf — whose own family is trapped in Gaza — accused the British government Friday of failing to value Palestinian lives as highly as Israeli ones.

In a round of emotional broadcast interviews ahead of his Scottish National Party’s (SNP) annual conference this weekend, the leader of Scotland’s devolved government spoke of his distress at the situation in Israel and Gaza, and took aim at the government in Westminster.

“No, I don’t,” Yousaf told ITV News when asked if he thinks the U.K. government is valuing Palestinian lives the same way it values those of Israelis. “That is the exact point, that the life of a Palestinian is equal to the life of an Israeli.”

Yousaf revealed earlier this week that his mother-in-law and father-in-law have been trapped in Gaza since Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel last weekend. The couple, who are from Dundee, travelled to Gaza last week to see a sick relative and other family, including multiple children.

Speaking to Sky News on Friday, Yousaf said U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is yet to contact him about his family’s situation — and that he is “angry and disappointed” to have received no reply after writing to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who is currently in Israel.

A British government figure familiar with the case told POLITICO Cleverly had raised Yousaf’s situation with the Israeli government.

Nevertheless, Yousaf said some U.K. politicians had been unable to show a “grain of sympathy for the people of Gaza.”

Earlier Friday, U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps defended Israel after the country’s military gave an order for northern Gaza residents — numbering more than 1 million — to evacuate ahead of an expected ground assault. The U.N. has warned that such movement could have devastating humanitarian consequences.

Yousaf said: “Our U.K. government should be using its trusted position as an ally of the government of Israel to be calling for an end to collective punishment. They should be at the forefront saying that the life of a Palestinian is the same as the life of an Israeli.”

Asked by the BBC about his in-laws, a tearful Yousaf said he felt “powerless and helpless” about the situation.

And, speaking to Sky, Yousaf said he had told his four-year-old daughter her grandmother would be home for Halloween. But in reality, he said, he is not sure she will be.

Emilio Casalicchio contributed reporting.