Tearful Humza Yousaf Says He Feels 'Powerless' Over Mother-In-Law Trapped In Gaza

The SNP leader also hit out at Rishi Sunak and James Cleverly's response to her plight.
Humza Yousaf at Bute House, his official residence in Edinburgh.
Humza Yousaf at Bute House, his official residence in Edinburgh.
Jane Barlow - PA Images via Getty Images

Humza Yousaf broke down in tears as he spoke of how he feels “powerless and helpless” over his mother-in-law who is trapped in Gaza.

The SNP leader told of his “anger” after foreign secretary James Cleverly failed to respond after he wrote to him about Elizabeth El-Nakla and her husband Maged, who travelled from their home in Dundee to see relatives there last week.

And he said prime minister Rishi Sunak has still not spoken to him since news of the pair’s plight was revealed earlier this week.

Yousaf, who is also Scotland’s first minister, hit out during an interview with Sky News ahead of the SNP conference in Aberdeen.

More than a million residents in north Gaza have been ordered to leave their homes by tomorrow as Israel prepares for a ground offensive as part of its ongoing response to last week’s attacks by the militant group Hamas, which killed 1,300 people.

At least 1,500 Gazans have died as Israel has launched a wave of retaliatory air strikes.

Yousaf said he was “angry and disappointed” not to receive a reply from Cleverly after writing to him about his family members in the region.

“He was in Israel and could have picked up the phone to me and made assurances about getting two UK citizens out,” Yousaf said.

Yousaf’s wife, Nadia, yesterday told the BBC that her family were trapped and “terrified”.

Elizabeth El-Nakla asked “where is humanity” in a video she posted earlier today.

Speaking from Deir al-Balah, about 10 miles south-west of Gaza City, she said the video would be her last.

“Everybody from Gaza is moving towards where we are,” she said.

“One million people, no food, no water – and still they’re bombing them as they’re leaving. Where are you going to put them? But my thought is – all these people in the hospital cannot be evacuated.

“Where is humanity? Where’s people’s hearts in the world, to let this happen in this day and age? May God help us, goodbye.”

In a separate interview with the BBC, Yousaf echoed Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who has said Israel must not punish Palestinian civilians for the actions of Hamas.

Tel Aviv has been accused of breaking international law by cutting off the supply of power, electricity and food to Gaza.

Yousaf said Israel was “going too far” and called for the international community to broker a ceasefire.

He said: “Nobody has said that Israel does not have the right to protect yourself from terror. All of us have said that, myself included, but collective punishment cannot be justified.

“Yes, they are going too far, collective punishment cannot be justified. It is innocent men, women, children, babies, with nothing to do with Hamas, who are paying an extraordinary price for those atrocious attacks that they have nothing to do with.”


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