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Gaza: International Assistance

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the situation in Gaza; and what representations he has made to the Israeli government on the delivery of humanitarian aid and the supply of power in Gaza. (190756)

The UK is concerned about the latest violence in the Gaza strip and the growing impact of Israeli restrictions which have resulted in power cuts and threaten to undermine vital infrastructure such as hospitals, water and sewage systems. The UN reports that the Gaza power plant is only able to produce 55 megawatts of the 240 megawatts required daily in the Gaza strip. For example, the water authority in the strip is unable to adequately pump and distribute water (cuts in the Gaza City are varying between four to eight hours daily).

My right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for International Development have issued joint statements on the situation in Gaza and Sderot on 11 January, 21 January and more recently on 8 February. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni on this issue on 24 January and I spoke to the Israeli ambassador in London on 29 January. Our embassy in Tel Aviv regularly raises this matter with the Israeli government and most recently our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised the issue with Defence Minister Barak on 25 February.

The UK and its partners will continue to pursue with Israel the reopening of all crossings to facilitate movement for all Palestinians. We deplore the fact that innocent civilians on both sides are suffering. Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and security.