‘Tantamount to Ethnic Cleansing’ – Scotland’s First Minister Slams Israeli Calls for Resettlement of Gazans

Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf. (Photo: Scottish Government, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has described statements by senior Israeli officials calling for the resettlement of Gaza’s population as “tantamount to ethnic cleansing.”

Yousaf’s statements come after he reportedly urged the British government to use its position as a “trusted ally” of Israel to demand an end to “indiscriminate attacks” that have claimed more than 22,000 lives in the besieged enclave. 

He said “very senior” ministers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “have made statements that the population of Gaza should be resettled…and gone as far as saying that Israeli settlements should now be in Gaza.”

“If that is not tantamount to ethnic cleansing, then I don’t know what is,” Yousaf said in an interview with Sky News on Friday.

Israeli politicians such as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, are advocating for the forced displacement of the Palestinian population. 

Yousaf added that political leaders “should stop beating around the bush,  (and) should call what they’re seeing in Gaza by what it is.”

He said there is not only a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, “but we’re now seeing senior members of the Netanyahu government making statements that are frankly the textbook definition of ethnic cleansing.”

“And that should be condemned in the strongest possible manner”, Yousaf stressed.

‘Shameful’ Refusal to Call for Ceasefire

Earlier, the First Minister reportedly said in a statement that ten weeks since Israel’s invasion of Gaza, “the UK Government’s refusal to call for an immediate ceasefire is shameful.”

 “The time has come for the UK Government to speak out forcefully and make it clear that Israeli action has gone way beyond a legitimate response to the appalling Hamas attack of 7 October,” he said, according to Anadolu news agency.

Yousaf also said that the UK government must make it clear that Netanyahu, Israeli ministers, and military commanders “will be held accountable” for the killing “of thousands of innocent civilians.”

As well as “the deaths of tens of thousands more from starvation and disease if Israel does not immediately cease indiscriminate attacks and allow aid to enter Gaza on the scale needed to avert a humanitarian disaster.” 

He said diplomatic approaches have so far “failed” to bring about any change to the current humanitarian situation, adding that an immediate ceasefire is required, reports Anadolu.

According to the The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), up to 1.9 million Palestinians (or over 85 percent of the population) have been displaced across the Gaza Strip, some multiple times since October 7, 2023.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health,  22,722 Palestinians have been killed, and 58,166 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

(PC, Anadolu)

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