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Gaza: Politics and Government

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent steps his Department has taken to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. (181565)

In 2007-08 DFID has given £15.6 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to provide essential services such as food, housing and education to Palestinian refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the region. Refugees make up 70 per cent. of Gaza’s population. We have provided £15 million to the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) since 2006. The TIM funds emergency fuel and electricity production, water and sanitation services for Gaza, as well as health services and allowances for Palestinian Government workers in Gaza and the West Bank. We have also given £1 million to fund ICRC’s emergency appeal for the West Bank and Gaza.

The recent deterioration in the humanitarian situation is not due to a lack of international assistance. It is the result of Israel’s decision to close all crossings into the Gaza Strip. Yesterday, the Secretary of State for International Development and the Foreign Secretary issued a statement expressing deep concern about the situation and calling on all parties to facilitate opening of the crossings.

We are encouraged by Israel’s decision today to allow limited deliveries of industrial fuel into Gaza but we will continue to monitor the humanitarian situation closely.