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Volume 707: debated on Monday 26 January 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Government of Israel has responded to the European Union presidency statement of 14 November on Gaza; and, if so, in what terms. [HL141]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the European Union presidency will take to ensure that the civilian population of Gaza does not suffer collective punishment, contrary to international law and to the European Union–Israel trade agreement. [HL142]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the response of the Government of Israel to the recent request by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office that humanitarian supplies be allowed into Gaza; and whether they will take any further action. [HL143]

We, along with the EU presidency, are concerned with the serious humanitarian situation in Gaza and consider the restrictions of Gaza's borders to the passage of relief supplies a disproportionate and inappropriate response to the security threat.

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 than an occupying power must co-operate in allowing the passage and distribution of relief consignments.

We will continue to urge the Israeli Government to ease the restrictions on the Gaza border and permit the flow of essential supplies.