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Israel and Palestine: Gaza

Volume 699: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. [HL1352]

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 the International Committee of the Red Cross's (ICRC) emergency appeal for the West Bank and Gaza.

The UK Government have regularly raised the humanitarian situation in Gaza at senior level with the Government of Israel and with the Palestinian Authority. On 11 January the Secretary of State for International Development and the Foreign Secretary issued a statement expressing deep concern at the growing humanitarian impact of restrictions by the Government of Israel on industrial diesel supplies to Gaza, particularly on the most vulnerable sections of the population. They welcomed Israel's recent decision to increase the supply of industrial diesel and continued to urge Israel to lift all restrictions on fuel with immediate effect. We will continue to monitor the humanitarian situation closely.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress was made at the international donor conference for the Palestine authorities to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. [HL1353]

The UK pledged up to £243 million over three years at the Paris Conference. In order to meet the Palestinian Authority's urgent funding needs we are doubling our assistance from £30 million in 2007 to £62 million in 2008. This funding will benefit Gazans directly.

The Paris Conference pledges from the 87 participant nations and international organisations will more than cover the $5.5 billion (£2.8 billion) financing gap identified by Palestinian Prime Minister Mr Fayyad. The Palestinian leadership is committed to helping Gazans benefit from the Paris pledges.

In addition the European Commission has recently secured a further €85 million (£65 million) to support the temporary international mechanism until the end of March 2008.