OVER the past six months, the situation in Gaza has been catastrophic. More than 33,000 Palestinian lives have been lost.

Millions are suffering from Israeli bombardment, incursions and severe lack of access to essential supplies and services like food and healthcare. This is why the UK Government must urgently introduce a Gaza Family Scheme that would protect Palestinian lives and the right to family unity.

We are the Gaza Families Reunited campaign – a grassroots group of Palestinians from Gaza and migrant rights’ advocates.


We believe that Palestinians have the right to live in their homeland in freedom and dignity. But as calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza remain unanswered, Palestinians in the UK are extremely concerned for the safety of their loved ones.

This is why we have been campaigning for a Gaza Family Scheme that would enable Palestinians in Gaza to reunite with their family members in the UK until it is safe to return.

Existing routes for Palestinians seeking to reunite with loved ones in the UK are insufficient and do not work. The Home Office continues to refuse to make decisions on Palestinians’ family reunion applications because they cannot complete fingerprint checks (known as biometrics) – but there is no Visa Application Centre in Gaza for people to do so.

There is no need to go back to the drawing board – the UK Government has rolled out successful visa schemes in the recent past to protect families, such as the Ukraine Family Scheme that was swiftly introduced within days of Russia’s invasion.

And just as the UK Government took action to provide sanctuary for those fleeing persecution in Ukraine and Hong Kong, a similar response is desperately needed for Palestinians in Gaza.

READ MORE: The National urges readers to sign urgent Gaza family scheme petition

In the words of another Palestinian member of our campaign who is based in Scotland: “My family deserves protection and respect.” We are simply asking for the same protection to be offered to Palestinian families.

The need for a Gaza Family Scheme is all the more urgent given Israel’s ongoing threat to invade Rafah – a move which has prompted outcry from the international community, including the UK.

An estimated 1.5 million Gazans, the majority of whom have experienced multiple displacements over the past six months, are currently trapped in this area, previously claimed to be a “safe zone” for civilians.

More than 80,000 members of the public have already signed a petition calling for a Gaza Family Scheme. Seventy-five charities and law firms – including the Scottish Refugee Council, JustRight Scotland and the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association – have also written to the Home Secretary demanding action.

At 100,000 signatures, the Westminster Parliament will consider our petition for a debate – giving us an important opportunity to highlight the stories of Palestinian families seeking to reunite in the UK.

However, time is running out – the petition will close on April 18th – so we are inviting members of the public to join our calls and add their name now.

The UK has a historical and current moral responsibility towards the Palestinian people. At the very least, it must now urgently create a Gaza Family Scheme to enable those trapped amidst unimaginable horrors to reunite with their loved ones. Anything less would be a betrayal of our shared humanity and a failure to uphold the principles of justice and compassion.