Humza Yousaf has accused political leaders of viewing Palestinian blood as “very cheap” as he criticised a lack of support for citizens in Gaza.

The Scottish First Minister has been outspoken in his calls for a ceasefire and more aid to the region amid the ongoing conflict with Israeli forces.

He has regularly shared updates on his own family’s situation after his mother and father-in-law were trapped in Gaza while visiting family.

They spent several weeks there with limited supplies before fleeing through the Rafah crossing into Egypt, and home to Dundee.

Mr Yousaf’s wife, Nadia El-Nakla said her sister-in-law and her four children, aged between six months and nine years old are now taking refuge in Turkey.

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But the Dundee councillor’s brother Mohammed, an emergency doctor, and their elderly grandmother remain in Gaza.

Ms El-Nakla and her First Minister husband have repeatedly called for a refugee resettlement scheme for Gazans, similar to that offered to Ukrainians.

Speaking on the BBC Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme, Mr Yousaf was asked if he believed people placed a “different value” on the lives of Muslims and Palestinians.

He replied: “Without a shadow of a doubt.”

“You take to anybody who is Palestinian, people in the Muslim community, they feel that the Palestinian blood is very cheap.”

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Mr Yousaf then took aim at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who he said has not shown leadership in demanding a ceasefire.

“I think there’s just a lack of leadership and moral courage, if I’m being frank,” Mr Yousaf added.

“This is a classic example of where, I think, nobody understands what Keir Starmer stands for.

“Why has he not shown the appropriate leadership on the issue of Gaza?

“I don’t know how anybody can see that level of death and destruction and not call for an immediate halt and immediate ceasefire.”

UK Labour has been asked for comment.

UK Defence Secretary labels Netanyahu's rejection of Palestinian state 'disappointing'

It comes as UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps described Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state as “disappointing”, saying the UK is “wedded” to the idea.

Mr Shapps said there “isn’t another option” other than a two-state solution.

It came after the Israeli prime minister doubled down on his rejection of Palestinian sovereignty as part of any post-war plan, saying his country needs full security control over the Palestinian territories.

Mr Netanyahu’s remarks deepened a public rift with the US, which has argued a two-state solution is essential for long-term stability.

Mr Shapps on Sunday backed the US view, saying there is no other solution to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Herald: UK Defence Secretary Grant ShappsUK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (Image: PA)

He told Sky News’ Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “I think it’s disappointing to hear Benjamin Netanyahu saying he doesn’t believe in a two-state solution. In fairness, he’s said that all of his political career, as far as I can tell.

“I don’t think we get to a solution unless we have a two-state solution.”

The Cabinet minister added the UK “certainly remains wedded to that,” “so we do disagree on that particular issue.”

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But Mr Shapps also stressed the UK’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself following Hamas’s deadly October 7 attacks.

On the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme, he said: “Palestinians deserve a sovereign state. Israel deserves to have the full ability to defend itself, its own security.

Labour has also rebuked Mr Netanyahu’s position.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper on Sunday echoed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy in saying: “Those words from Netanyahu were completely unacceptable.

“Statehood of a people is not in the gift of its neighbour, it is the right of a people and it is the right of the Palestinian people.”