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Israel and Palestine: Gaza

Volume 704: debated on Tuesday 7 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, given the prevalence of kidney disease in Gaza, they or the quartet have plans to assist in improving the quality of drinking water available there.[HL5279]

Access to safe drinking water remains a key challenge in Gaza. Two things are needed to help the infrastructure cope with Gaza's water shortages. First, the lifting of restrictions on spare parts and other material to repair the sewerage and water systems. On this, the Government fully support the efforts of the quartet representative to negotiate with Israel on getting vital equipment into Gaza to repair the water and sanitation infrastructure.

Secondly, enough fuel is required for the Gaza power plant so that it can generate sufficient electricity for the water treatment plants to operate effectively. The availability of fuel is an issue we have repeatedly raised with the Government of Israel.

We therefore welcome the recent increase in delivery of fuel to the Gaza power plant. Although it remains less than what is required for the power plant to operate at full capacity, this is a welcome step towards increasing water availability and improving the lives of ordinary Palestinians in Gaza. Fuel to the Gaza power plant is paid for by the European Commission (EC). The UK provides 17 per cent of the EC's overall budget and has contributed substantially to its temporary international mechanism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.