The government has faced accusations of separating children from their mothers in Gaza, as it was discovered that individuals without passports were not included in the list for safe passage.
The Foreign Office has compiled a list of British citizens who are permitted to depart Gaza for Egypt through the Rafah crossing. However, there are reports that some individuals feel their relatives have not been included on the list.
According to a group representing them, the current policy differs from the actions taken during the evacuation of Ukraine. At that time, any relative of a British citizen was granted a visa.
Louise Harkin from Support Families in Gaza stated that they have been communicating with various organizations and attorneys who assist individuals with the legal right to enter the UK under various visa programs. These sources have made it evident that British Palestinians are being treated unfairly compared to those seeking refuge from the conflict in Ukraine.
“Gaza is currently the least safe place on the planet. Almost 10,000 people are confirmed dead, almost half of whom are children, yet the government now wants to separate British children from their mothers and families.
We urge the government to permit British citizens to bring their families along with them.
British citizens were among the initial individuals to enter Egypt through the Rafah crossing, which is the sole means of leaving Gaza for foreign nationals and the primary point of entry for incoming aid. They reported the crossing to be in a state of “complete chaos” and expressed feeling “abandoned” by their government.
It is known that there are hundreds of British citizens who are currently unable to leave Gaza, along with approximately 7,000 foreign nationals who have been officially recorded by their embassies and the Egyptian government.
A person who is facing the difficult decision of leaving their family members behind expressed their concerns about Palestinian individuals being treated as inferior citizens.
The individual, who preferred to remain anonymous, informed the PA news agency that upon receiving the notification that themselves and other relatives were added to the list, they discovered that their father’s wife was not included. As a result, their father had to leave his wife and other family members behind in order to bring their young brothers to safety.
We are aware of at least one additional family facing the same situation. It is devastating. No one should have to be forced to make such a decision. The world seems to have lost its compassion. It is even more puzzling since we are familiar with someone living in the US who successfully evacuated 19 family members without any of them holding an American passport.
They stated: “We are aware that the FCDO has previously granted exemptions for individuals from Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Sudan. However, it seems that those of us with Palestinian heritage are constantly being treated as inferior citizens.”
According to reports, British citizens listed have been encountering challenges when attempting to cross the border on their own due to conflicts between Palestinian and Israeli officials in recent days.
Zaynab Wandawi, a citizen of the United Kingdom who was born in Salford, Greater Manchester, was once again denied entry at the Rafah border crossing on Saturday, according to her mother Lalah Ali-Faten who spoke to the PA news agency. Ali-Faten expressed frustration with the Foreign Office, stating that she feels they are not taking enough action and that simply sharing a list of names is not an adequate response from the government.
According to a spokesperson from the Foreign Office, the current situation remains difficult and we are utilizing all diplomatic methods to urge for the reopening of the crossing, in collaboration with our global allies. We are staying in communication with British citizens in the area to keep them updated with the most recent information.
According to the government, individuals who need a visa will have to obtain one before traveling to the UK. This includes family members of British citizens, such as spouses, partners, and children under 18.