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Middle East: Armed Conflict

Volume 505: debated on Friday 5 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 21 January 2010, Official Report, column 468W, on Palestinians: overseas aid, what assessment he has made of whether Israel is in compliance with its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of the population of Gaza; and if he will make a statement. (314058)

We have serious concerns about the Israeli restrictions on Gaza and the impact they have on the lives of Gazans. Although there is no permanent physical Israeli presence in Gaza, given the significant control that Israel has over Gaza's borders, airspace and territorial waters, Israel retains obligations under the fourth Geneva convention as an occupying power. The fourth Geneva convention is clear that an occupying power must co-operate in allowing the passage and distribution of relief consignments. The restrictions currently imposed on the passage of relief supplies are, as we see it, a disproportionate response to the security threat.

We have consistently pressed the Israeli Government to comply with their obligations under international law and allow passage of relief supplies. Although aid is entering Gaza, according to the UN this is insufficient to meet the needs of the Gazan people.