HUMZA Yousaf has become the first UK party leader to condemn Israel’s push for “ethnic cleansing”, after warning that Israeli officials had called for the "resettlement of the population of Gaza".

Speaking to Sky News on Friday, Yousaf called on political leaders to "stop beating around the bush", and that if recent statements from Israeli ministers were "not tantamount to ethnic cleansing, then I don't know what is".

Yousaf (below), told Sky News: “In the last week, we have heard statements from senior ministers in Netanyahu’s government, the finance secretary, the national security minister, very senior members of Netanyahu’s government. 

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“They have made statements that the population of Gaza should be resettled, moved out of Gaza, and have 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. 

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“I think political leaders should stop beating around the bush, should call what they’re seeing in Gaza by what it is. 

“We are seeing not only a humanitarian crisis, but we’re now seeing senior members of the Netanyahu government making statements that are frankly the textbook definition of ethnic cleansing, and should be condemned in the strongest possible manner.” 

These comments makes Yousaf the first UK party leader to condemn recent comments made by Israeli ministers as "ethnic cleansing".

Yousaf said earlier on Friday that the UK Government needed to make clear to Israel that its actions in Gaza had gone "way beyond a legitimate response" to the October 7 attack by Hamas.

In a statement on Twitter/X on Friday, the First Minister added: “In the last few weeks we've heard statements from senior Ministers in the Israeli government calling for the resettlement of the population of Gaza, and for Israeli settlements to be established in Gaza.

“That is the textbook definition of ethnic cleansing and must be called out.”

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Scottish Greens education, finance, constitution and external affairs spokesperson Ross Greer (below) previously called Israel's campaign in Gaza "ethnic cleansing".

On October 15 last year, Greer said: “Despite growing international calls for a ceasefire, senior Israeli Ministers have made it clear that they are willing to escalate their breaches of international law into a full blown campaign of ethnic cleansing against the people of Gaza.

"We cannot allow that to happen. 2 million Palestinians cannot be made to suffer for the crimes of Hamas."

Responding to the First Minister's comments, Tommy Sheppard, the SNP's Scotland spokesperson and MP for Edinburgh East, said: "Well said @HumzaYousaf.

"His abusers claim this is nothing to do with Scotland. They are wrong. Most people here are appalled at what is happening in Gaza and will applaud out FM for speaking up for them."

Anne McLaughlin, SNP MP for Glasgow North East and columnist at The National, said: "It gets more and more terrifying and STILL there are people trying to justify this as self defence."