Israel-Gaza war: More Scottish aid funding pledged for Gaza as Humza Yousaf continues calls for ceasefire
First Minister Humza Yousaf, whose parents-in-law are trapped in Gaza after visiting family before the conflict began, said he would continue to press for a ceasefire in the strip. More than 8,800 people are now estimated to have died following strikes carried out in retaliation for the Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7.
The additional money takes the total given by the Scottish Government to assist relief efforts in Gaza via the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Flash Appeal to £750,000. More than 670,000 people are seeking refuge in UNWRA shelters in Gaza.
Mr Yousaf’s stance on a ceasefire in Gaza is at odds with that of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who have both stopped short of calling for an end to fighting to allow civilians to leave and aid to enter the territory.
However, Mr Sunak said on Wednesday he had spoken to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu about “the concept of humanitarian pauses” to allow aid to enter Gaza via the Mediterranean.
Mr Yousaf said: “I have been repeatedly calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. But while we press this vital issue, it’s important we support the Palestinian people as much as we can.
“The situation in Gaza is catastrophic, which is why I’m pledging this additional funding to support in helping to stop the humanitarian disaster we are witnessing. As supplies run out in Gaza, the lives of innocent civilians are at grave risk from a lack of food, water, medical supplies and fuel.
“My thoughts remain with all of those caught in the middle of the escalating conflict in Israel and Gaza. The killing of innocent civilians can never be justified, wherever it occurs.”
Mr Yousaf’s wife, Nadia’s, parents, who live in Dundee, are still in Gaza, where they are said to be running short of supplies and have no access to clean drinking water. The first foreign passport holders left Gaza through the Rafah border with Egypt on Wednesday. However, few British citizens were among them.
UNRWA, which was set up in 1949 by the UN General Assembly to provide support, education and aid to those living in refugee communities in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, said more than 1.4 million people in Gaza, out of a population of 2.3 million, have now been displaced from their homes.
Marta Lorenzo, director of UNRWA representative office Europe, said: "Scotland has proven that they stand hand in hand with Palestine refugees and those suffering in Gaza.
“Scotland is helping UNRWA provide shelter, food, medicines and water to entire families that had to flee their home. We are extremely grateful for the additional contribution from Scotland demonstrating the increasingly strong support to UNRWA.”
Ms Lorenzo added: "With this vital funding, the agency will be able to continue providing essential and life-saving aid. With the ongoing crisis deepening further each day, it is vital for more donors to step forward and support the millions of people suffering in the Gaza strip."
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