BBC sports presenter Gary Lineker has given an emotional speech on Gaza, as thousands more civilians have been told to flee Rafah.

Appearing on Mehdi Hasan’s Mehdi Unfiltered show on Friday evening, Lineker said he often cries when seeing images of Gaza on social media, and that the crisis is unlike anything he has seen before.

“It’s the worst thing I’ve seen in my lifetime,” Lineker said.

“I’ve seen so many images of children. I’ve got no skin in this game, I’m not Muslim, I’m not Jewish, I’m not Israeli, I’m not Palestinian.

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“So, I see purely from the outside from a neutral perspective.

“I can’t think of anything that I’ve seen worse in my lifetime. The constant images of children losing their lives, day in, day out.

“Obviously, we all know October 7 happened, but the minute you raise your voice against what they’re now doing there, you get accused of being a supporter of Hamas or all this kind of stuff.”

Lineker (below) added that he understood the importance of speaking out about the crisis unfolding in Gaza.

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He continued: “There’s a lot of heavy lobbying on people to be quiet, so I understand why most people refrain.

“But I’m getting on a bit now, I’m fairly secure, and I can’t be silent about what’s happening. I think it’s just so, so utterly awful.

“And now it looks like it already looks like it’s happening, going into Rafah, where they’ve sent everybody down there.”

Lineker added: “It’s not anti-Semitic to say that what Israel is doing is wrong. I just can’t see how everybody doesn’t see it that way now.

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“Whatever the cause, whatever started it – we all know that the history of this area of the world goes way before October 7 – it’s truly dreadful what’s happening.

“I cry on a regular basis when I see certain images on social media.”

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Lineker’s speech has been praised on social media, with journalist and National columnist Owen Jones reacting: “Gary Lineker is responding exactly how every public figure would be responding if they genuinely saw Palestinians as equal human beings.

“To those public figures reading this tweet and feeling shame: that's exactly what you should be feeling.”


Meanwhile, Baroness Jenny Jones – a Green Party peer in the House of Lords – said: “I woke up tired, after another week of pushing back on stupid legislation from the Govt, but @GaryLineker speaking out is a bright point for today.”

Lineker’s speech comes as Israel has ordered more civilians to evacuate Rafah, with threats of a ground invasion becoming more imminent.

The UN estimates that more than 100,000 people have already fled Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza and the place Palestinians were initially told to flee to, as the violence continues and famine looms.