Israel-Hamas conflict: 'My heart goes out to Humza Yousaf', says Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar

Both Mr Yousaf and Mr Sarwar have called for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Gaza

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar says his “heart goes out” to First Minister Humza Yousaf, whose in-laws are trapped in Gaza.

Mr Sarwar also reiterated his calls for a ceasefire in the region, saying the withholding of food, electricity, water and medicine is a breach of international law.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This comes as UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer set out why he is not demanding an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and First Minister Humza Yousaf. Image: Press Association.Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and First Minister Humza Yousaf. Image: Press Association.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and First Minister Humza Yousaf. Image: Press Association.

Pro-Palestinian protestors mobbed his car after his statement, and Amnesty International has criticised Sir Keir’s speech, saying it shows he doesn’t have “clear and principled leadership”.

Mr Sarwar previously said Sir Keir’s comments were hurtful to Muslims.

Speaking to The Scotsman during a visit to the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Methil on Tuesday, Mr Sarwar said: “Keir has called for a humanitarian pause and people can debate whether a ceasefire and a pause are different things.

“I’m not interested in debates on language – I want to see an end to rocket fire into and out of Gaza, which means an immediate ceasefire, the immediate release of hostages, and the immediate access of humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

Mr Sarwar said it was crucial every Israeli life was seen as equal to every Palestinian life in finding peace in the region.

The Scottish Labour leader said he “doesn’t care” about how people project the internal party dynamics of the Labour Party, warning people the conflict could not be trivialised like this.

“This is an international conflict with serious consequences and people are heartbroken by what is happening, not just those in Israel and Palestine, but global humanity feels heartbroken,” he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Sarwar was then asked for his thoughts on Mr Yousaf, whose in-laws are trapped in Gaza.

Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged – the parents of Mr Yousaf’s wife Councillor Nadia El-Nakla – travelled from Dundee to Gaza to visit a sick relative before the conflict broke out.

Mr Yousaf was able to make contact with them after two days of communication blackout, but said they have now run out of drinking water.

Mr Sarwar said: “I know how heartbroken I feel and I know the sleepless nights I’m having.

“It feels like humanity is dying before our very eyes and I can’t begin to imagine how much worse it is for those who are worried about a loved one in Gaza or Israel, worried about the violence, or who have tragically lost someone.

“My heart goes out to everyone, including Humza Yousaf and his family. I cannot for a moment imagine how difficult that must be.”

He added: “I’m with the vast, vast, vast majority of people in this country who just want the violence to end, who want people to live in peace and freedom alongside each other.

“It feels we are so very far away from that right now, which is devastating.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

External affairs secretary Angus Robertson is due to give a statement on the Scottish Government’s position on Gaza to Holyrood’s constitution, Europe, external affairs and culture committee on Thursday morning.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.