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Israel and Palestine: Medical Treatment

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 14 November 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their response to reports that dozens of patients in the Gaza Strip are still unable to receive medical treatment, in some cases life-saving procedures, due to the continued border closures with Israel and Egypt. [HL52]

The Government are deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in Gaza. There is a pressing need to overcome the obstacles to reopening Gaza’s crossings, for humanitarian goods, trade and people. The implementation of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access stalled following the election of Hamas in January 2006. We continue to call on both the Israelis and the Palestinians to implement the agreement. We have repeatedly raised our concerns about movement and access with the Government of Israel. Most recently, on 15 October 2007, we raised the case of students trapped in Gaza, who have been unable to leave Gaza to undertake their respective studies at overseas institutions, including in the UK.

The Government remain firmly committed to Israel’s security, but we have made it clear that action taken by Israel in response to actions by violent extremists should not cause suffering to innocent Palestinians. Israel has expressed its commitment to avoiding a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and we continue to call on it to ensure that any response is in accordance with international law.