HUMZA Yousaf has said his family’s “hearts are broken” as they fear for their relatives trapped in Gaza – who they cannot reach.

The First Minister has also ­accused the UK Government of being ­“complicit in some of the violence” by failing to back a UN resolution ­calling for a ceasefire.

After communications were cut off in Gaza on Friday, Yousaf said they had no idea whether or not his wife Nadia El-Nakla’s parents had been ­injured, were trapped under rubble or even still alive.

He said he had last spoken to his mother-in-law Elizabeth El-Nakla – who is stuck in the warzone with her husband Maged – early on Friday morning, when she said they were ­trying to work out the best place in the house to try to survive a bombing.

And Yousaf told of his heartbreak at overhearing his four-year-old ­daughter pretending to speak to her granny on a toy mobile phone – ­asking when she was coming home.

'Desperately worried' 

His parents-in-law had travelled to the region before the Hamas ­attack on Israel on October 7 and have been trapped since Israel’s retaliation, which has been intensifying since Friday.

Yousaf told the Sunday National the family was “desperately worried” and fearing the worst after having no contact from anyone in Gaza where his in-laws have been sheltering in a house with around 100 people.

He said: “I spoke to my mother-in-law around 7.30am in the morning [on Friday], and she tends to phone between seven-eight in the morning – that’s when they usually get a window and she tries to obviously preserve her battery given how little electricity there is.

“When I spoke to her last, it was after a night of very heavy bombardment and she said to me the family that night had to work out if there was continued bombing, or if it got closer to their house, basically what corner or which room they would go into which would give them the best chance of survival.

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“That’s the kind of life they are ­living – it’s all about how to survive, as their expectation is at some point they will be hit.

“As things stand at the moment, I don’t know whether they have been hit or not, whether they are alive or not, whether they are stuck under rubble or not.

“It has been three weeks now they have been trapped in that warzone and our hearts are broken for them.”

Yousaf said the whole family was struggling and his wife was “numb” – and also showing an “unbelievable strength” in coping with the situation.

He added: “But you can imagine how worried she is in particular – and all of us are.

“I heard my four-year-old in a room playing by herself and she has a ­pretend mobile phone and she was having a chat with her granny.


“She was asking her when she was going to come back, telling her that she misses her, and it was just desperately heartbreaking.”

Yousaf also emphasised the ­situation was wider than his own ­family’s circumstances and said he would continue to call for an ­immediate ceasefire and to “raise our voice for peace and humanity”.

The UK's complicity to violence in Gaza

He said he was angered at the UK Government’s decision to abstain from the vote by the United Nations General Assembly on a resolution on Friday calling for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities”, which was backed by 120 countries.

The UK Government has said the abstention was due to the draft’s omission of “an unequivocal condemnation of Hamas’s terrorist attacks”.

But Yousaf said: “I think if you didn’t vote for peace then I’m afraid you are complicit in some of the violence.

“I don’t say that lightly, but I think the UK Government have done so little if not next to nothing to advocate for peace, not being able to call out ­collective punishment, not being able to call unequivocally for a ceasefire.

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“And of course for the 200 UK ­citizens that are in Gaza, including my own mother-in-law and father-in-law, they have left them abandoned in a war zone for three weeks.”

He added: “I am very angry. My anger is because there are thousands, literally thousands of children who have lost their lives and will continue to lose their lives if the violence does not cease.

“We are calling not on one side to do a ceasefire – you can’t have a unilateral ceasefire – we are calling on all parties to cease the violence and the UK Government is a trusted friend, a trusted ally of the Israeli government and they should be using that position as a trusted ally to not just call for, but demand cessation of violence.

“We have to see that ceasefire ­otherwise I’m afraid more children are going to die.”

Keir Starmer must take moral responsibility on world stage

Yousaf also said he was particularly disappointed that Sir Keir Starmer had failed to call for a ceasefire.

The Labour leader is supporting the Tory government’s diplomatic push for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting to allow aid into Gaza and for people trapped in the ­bombarded territory to leave.

“There are many in his own party who are calling for that ceasefire and have eventually got to that position and from every poll I have seen those in the UK also support calling for a ceasefire,” Yousaf said.

“So I cannot understand why when we see the scenes we all are ­watching, the devastation we are watching, the death we are watching, the ­destruction we are watching, what on earth Keir Starmer is doing not ­calling for that ceasefire.”

He added: “We really need Sir Keir Starmer to take his moral ­responsibility on the world stage ­seriously – I have no doubt, I have to say, that he will probably be the next prime minister of the UK come the next General Election and what he says does matter.”

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Yesterday saw thousands of protesters take to the streets – including in Glasgow, London and Manchester – in support of Palestinians.

Yousaf said the demonstrations taking place in the UK and across the world show that “people want peace”.

“The people are on the streets ­demanding it – why the UK Government and leader of the opposition aren’t doing what the people are demanding I can’t understand,” he said.

“If they come out and explain ­rationally why they are not calling for a ceasefire, I would be interested in that explanation. But so far none has been forthcoming.

“But I think there is a strength of feeling – not just the Scottish public, but the British public and many of those worldwide want a ceasefire and want to see one now, as we are tired of the death and destruction.”

He added: “Not only that, to be frank, more children dying, hospitals shutting down, more ­innocent men and women losing their lives, is not going to advance peace in the long term.

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“It’s going to do the complete ­opposite – it is going to be ­completely counter-productive to a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine question.”

Yousaf said the people of Scotland could help by “continuing to raise their voice” as they have often done “when there is injustice in the world”.

But he also warned the country had to guard against anyone ­seeking to create divisions and ensure the ­protection of Jewish and Muslim communities at this time.

“The Jewish community, the ­Muslim community are two ­communities that are precious to us in Scotland,” he said.

“We should make sure that those who try to incite hate have no place to do so here, that our ­Jewish ­communities feel protected, our ­Muslim communities feel protected at a time when they are both very anxious about the repercussions of what’s happening in the Middle East being felt here in Scotland.

“So let’s make sure we don’t allow anybody to create those divisions.”