Humza Yousaf, Scottish first minister

Claim Scottish Government paid Hamas £750m to get Yousaf’s family out of Gaza is FFS

Humza Yousaf’s personal connection to the conflict in Gaza has been the subject of much media attention. 

The first minister’s parents in-laws were visiting family in the region when the war broke out in October 2023, and Yousaf raised their plight publicly in his comments regarding the conflict. They were later able to return to the UK. 

Some social media users criticised Yousaf for the Scottish Government’s humanitarian aid to the region, suggesting it was used to get his family members out of Gaza. 

Looks like the price Scotland paid to have Humza Yousaf as First Minister is:

1. £750m to Hamas to get his wife’s family out of Gaza.
2. An unknown amount to Erdogan to get his wife’s family to Turkey.
3. In return Scots got a useless First Minster.
4. It’s not much of a bargain.

Social media post

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it FFS

Ferret Fact Service | Scotland's impartial fact check project

Evidence

Humza Yousaf’s wife’s parents, Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla were among a number of British nationals who were unable to leave Gaza when the war escalated in October 2023. After Hamas fighters attacked an Israeli music festival on 7 October, Israel began an extensive bombardment of the Gaza strip which has so far led to a reported 25,000 deaths in the region. 

The El-Nakla’s arrived back in the UK in November 2023.

In the post on X, it was claimed that this took place after Scotland paid “£750m to Hamas”, the militant group in control of the Gaza strip. This is completely false. 

While there’s no evidence to support such a donation, the £750m figure may be based on two much lower Scottish Government humanitarian aid donations, one of £500,000 and another of £250,000, totalling £750,000, which were widely reported in the media. 

However, these donations went to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and its emergency response to the escalation of conflict. UNRWA supports refugees in Gaza. The UNRWA is funded by governments across the world, including the UK, US and European Union. 

The UNRWA has been accused of links to Hamas, with some reports that sympathisers of the group were working for the organisation in Gaza. UNRWA has said it is not a political organisation.

The Scottish Government paid £750,000, not £750m, to the UNRWA. There is no evidence that this donation was linked to Humza Yousaf’s in-laws safely escaping Gaza. 

Nor is there any evidence that the Scottish Government gave money to President Erdoğan to facilitate this family’s Gaza escape. There was a £500,000 donation made by the Scottish Government to Turkey and Syria after its earthquake in early 2023, but this was before Humza Yousaf was first minister.

Nadia El-Nakla, Yousaf’s wife, revealed that the Turkish government had helped her family to leave Gaza, by offering to accept them as refugees. This took place after she had met the first lady of Turkey, Emine Erdoğan.

Ferret Fact Service verdict: FFS

The claim that the Scottish Government gave £750m to Hamas is completely false. In fact £750,000 was donated to a United Nations palestinian aid organisation. There is no evidence that any money was donated to Turkey. 

Claim Scottish Government paid Hamas £750m to get Yousaf's family out of Gaza is FFS 2

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, and signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles.

All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here.

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Photo credit: Fraser Bremner

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