To receive breaking news updates in your email inbox in real time, sign up for our free breaking news emails.
Join our mailing list for complimentary email updates on current events.
Four individuals from Britain, or relatives of British citizens, have expressed concern for their safety after being returned to Gaza from Egypt. This is due to the alleged failure of the UK government to include their names on designated lists for entry.
Four non-military individuals consist of a female parent whose small offspring have already departed without her, and whose spouse expressed that being sent back is akin to “a type of group retribution”.
The team spent two evenings filled with worry while waiting on the opposite side of the Rafah border crossing, uncertain if they would be permitted to remain.
The Egyptian government permitted some members of the families to stay on the list, resulting in the separation of the families.
They reported witnessing both Americans and Egyptians in similar roles, and they were permitted to depart once their respective governments gave approval for their names.
Israel and Egypt have compiled rosters of civilians who are permitted to leave the area under attack, using names that have been authorized by their respective governments. Thus far, hundreds of non-nationals have been able to seek refuge from the region, including approximately 100 individuals from the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom’s government reports that it has given a complete roster of British citizens and their qualified dependents in Gaza to the Israeli and Egyptian governments, giving priority to those with medical frailty.
The individuals and their families entered Egypt on Monday evening, but were detained on the Egyptian side as their names were not included on the list.
On Wednesday morning, the four individuals, each from a different family, were ultimately returned to Gaza.
The UK government was criticized for not providing enough support. However, the government claims to be in communication with and aiding the families of multiple individuals in Israel and Gaza.
Dr. Nadia Ghalayini, a gynecologist who is married to a British citizen, was among those denied entry. Her husband, Dr. Baha Ghalayini, who currently resides in Cairo with their sons while their children live in Manchester, expressed disappointment and concern over the decision to send his wife back to the dangerous environment in Gaza.
We are extremely disappointed with the actions of the Foreign Office employees who had the opportunity to include my wife’s name on the list initially, but instead decided to separate our family.
Currently, their statement is simply that they are making every effort to assist British Palestinians, but we have not witnessed any action from them. They had the opportunity to intervene yesterday, and as a result, my children could have been reunited with their mother by now.
“Rather than being reunited with her family, she was forced to spend another night at the border. It feels like a form of punishment inflicted on a group.”
The Save Gazan Families organization in the UK was informed by four individuals that while waiting in Egypt for three days, the embassies of other nations offered their citizens warm meals, but the British embassy only provided cheese sandwiches.
According to Dr. Ahmad Sabra, a cardiologist at NHS, he resides in Swansea with his family but practices in Leeds and Wakefield. He stated that the Egyptian government promised assistance if our own government made a formal request.
“We waited for hours but were informed the call was never made.
“After returning to Gaza, we are concerned about being targeted. Israel has recently attacked families leaving the border on the Gazan side and an aid convoy. It seems nowhere is secure.”
Dr. Sabra and one of the others possess passports from the United Kingdom, while another has a visa from Britain.
According to the health ministry in the Gaza Strip under Hamas control, approximately 10,000 individuals have lost their lives in Israeli attacks.
Hamas killed around 1,400 Israelis and took an estimated 240 more people hostage.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has issued a warning that Gaza is becoming a dangerous place for children and could potentially result in their deaths.
Chaotic scenes ensued at the Rafah border crossing last week as a British teacher was denied entry. Desperate families pleaded with border guards to let them cross for their safety.
Neil Henrick, the representative of Save Gazan Families, expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza. He criticized the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) for not acknowledging the severity of the situation and for being inactive.
The United Kingdom must take all necessary actions to promptly evacuate these families. Releasing names in a sporadic manner will only add to the already overwhelming stress and hopelessness that these families are experiencing.
As British citizens, they should receive protection and assistance from their government.
A representative from the Foreign Office stated that they are continuously working to assist British citizens in Gaza who wish to depart. This includes providing the necessary information of British individuals and their qualified dependents to both Israeli and Egyptian officials.
The cases are thoroughly reviewed by the authorities and approvals are granted to cross.
“We remain in regular contact with British nationals in Gaza to provide them with the latest information, and UK teams are forward deployed to the border to receive anyone leaving”.