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Admitting Gazan refugees would be proof that Britain has a death wish

In Europe
May 18, 2024

It was only a matter of time before the call came. Now Labour MPs, including Sam Tarry and Jess Phillips, are agitating for Britain to take in Palestinians fleeing Gaza.

Tarry, the MP for Ilford South, suggested that the Gazan people are “a highly skilled … and well-educated workforce” who could benefit the UK, while Phillips said “all of the Gazans that we resettled into Birmingham Yardley were actually doctors, and are bringing huge amounts of resources”. If that is the case, then surely Palestinians who can get out of Gaza can apply for skilled worker visas like any other immigrant trying to get into the UK?

Although the visa application centre in Gaza has been closed down due to the war, biometric applications can still be processed in Egypt, Turkey and Jordan. Another Labour MP, Andrew Slaughter, claims that it is “cynical and callous” to make Palestinians apply this way – but what’s the alternative? Deferring biometric applications and letting people in without the proper checks?

These MPs are advocating a scheme for Palestinians similar to the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship programme introduced in 2022. But it’s not a fair comparison. We took in Ukrainians in part because we have a security agreement with Ukraine and can be fairly certain that none of those fleeing the Russian invasion are terrorists.

Sadly the same cannot be said for occupants of a country run by Hamas. Regardless of their medical – or other – qualifications, we have no idea how many Gazans support their murdering, raping masters, or how many have been further radicalised by war.

It would surely be better if these Labour MPs focused on our own problems, without burdening Britain yet further with someone else’s. They could also be lobbying other countries in the Middle East to give Palestinians the help they need. The likes of Egypt have been reticent to open their borders.

It is also worth noting that a Palestinian student has already had her visa revoked after saying she was “full of joy” after the October 7 attacks. Dana Abuqamar, 19, a law student at the University of Manchester, said that she was “proud that Palestinian resistance has come to this point” after the atrocities. It would be naive to believe that the average Palestinian wishing to come to the UK thinks much differently.

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