The First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, announced on X that Scotland will welcome refugees from Gaza amidst the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas that has displaced millions of residents. Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 and has been under near constant aerial bombardment since as Israeli Defense Forces pound targets thought to harbor terrorists.
The people of Gaza are a proud people.
Many don't want to leave, and shouldn't have to.
But for those displaced, who want to leave, there should be a worldwide refugee scheme.
Scotland is willing to be a place of sanctuary and be the first country to take those refugees. pic.twitter.com/5RbZpJsGHX
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) October 18, 2023
The call to open the floodgates for refugees comes on the heels of a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital that killed 500 people. Initially believed to have been an Israeli airstrike, all signs now point to a failed missile launch from Gaza itself. Hamas installs missile batteries and other critical military infrastructure in dense residential areas, near schools, hospitals, and marketplaces as a way of dissuading attacks.
Scotland is the first nation to announce that it is accepting refugees, but the exact number of people Scotland is willing to accept is not clear. Yousaf did not provide any details about the amount of money the British Isle nation has available to house, clothe, and feed immigrants.
Criticism of the decision came from some unexpected corners, including Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and Lebanon, all countries that are opposed to Israel, but have also refused to accept Gaza refugees. Fears of the impossibility of identifying terrorists who may use the refugee process as cover have led to these nations refusing refugees.
Yousaf’s brother is a doctor in Gaza and his wife’s family are Palestinians living in the region. Yousaf said that the few times he has spoken to his brother since the onset of fighting, he has heard stories of carnage as hospitals run out of supplies and doctors are forced to make decisions on who to save and who to let die.
The decision to allow refugees also brought pushback from within Scotland as residents highlighted the fact that Palestinian children are taught to hate Jewish people and the Western world which often results in radicalized beliefs, including the decision to commit acts of terror in the name of Allah.
A wave of antisemitic protests across the U.K. led to increased security at Jewish schools and synagogues in the hope of thwarting terror attacks which are almost certain to happen.
The decision to accept refugees is not entirely at the whim of Yousaf who must answer to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak. Sunak has publicly stated full support for Israel and has made no mention of importing foreigners to the United Kingdom.
Around 2.2 million people live in Gaza. Israel has informed residents to move south, but Hamas has made it difficult for residents to flee. Hamas hopes to keep as many civilians in Gaza in the hope that Israeli strikes will kill them and cause international condemnation, further eroding Israel’s delicate balance in the predominantly Muslim region.