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Palestinians: Overseas Aid

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has for the provision of aid to the people of Gaza. (145768)

On 19 June my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, Central (Hilary Benn), the former Secretary of State for International Development, announced a contribution of £1 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for immediate humanitarian needs in Gaza and the West Bank. ICRC has delivered medical supplies, repatriated bodies, evacuated medical cases and helped the Palestinian Red Crescent to deliver blood supplies in Gaza. It has also helped the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to deliver food aid.

UNRWA provides food aid to 850,000 Palestinian refugees in Gaza, along with other essential services. With ICRC, UNRWA is assisting the 250 people trapped at the Erez crossing. DFID has provided £15.6 million through UNRWA this year for its operations in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Through the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM), the European Union is providing fuel to ensure the continued operation of electricity, water and sanitation services in Gaza, supporting front line health services and providing allowances for Government workers, pensioners and other needy Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. DFID has provided £15 million through the TIM so far.

The European Community (EC) is providing €9.8 million through the World Health Organisation, €6 million for UNRWA’s food programme, and €9 million through the World Food Programme for the West Bank and Gaza. This is in addition to the European Community’s contribution to UNRWA’s core fund of €66 million this year. The UK contributes about 17 per cent. of EC assistance.

The key humanitarian issue in Gaza at this time is access. 104 containers of UNRWA supplies await transit to Gaza through the Kami crossing. Without regular and reliable access for aid supplies and privately traded goods it will not be possible for Gaza’s 1.3 million people to meet their basic needs.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much financial assistance has been provided to support Palestine in each year since 1995. (145770)

Figures for DFID support to the Palestinian people since 1995 are as follows:

£

2006-07

30,211,000

2005-06

30,043,000

2004-05

34,794,000

2003-04

40,487,000

2002-03

33,873,000

2001-02

38,737,000

2000-01

26,764,000

1999-2000

20,727,000

1998-99

8,516,000

1997-98

16,133,000

1996-97

14,288,000

1995-96

10,147,000

These figures include contributions through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which supports Palestinian refugees living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.