The British Government’s current position on Israel and Palestine: Living conditions in Gaza

Question from Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 3rd November 2020 (HL9964)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the statement by the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East that “people are going through the garbage” for food in Gaza, and (2) the case for increasing the funding of that agency for the provision of food aid.

Answer from Lord Ahmad on 12th November 2020

The UK remains concerned about the ongoing humanitarian situation in Gaza. We are a longstanding supporter to UNRWA and in 2020/2021 we are providing £51 million to support UNRWA to provide essential services to the 5.6 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. £1 million of this is specifically for food aid in Gaza.

In addition to our support to UNRWA for the refugee population, the UK is providing £2.5 million to the World Food Programme to provide food and cash assistance for some of the most vulnerable Palestinians, mainly in Gaza.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 5th October 2020 (HL8781)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of heavy metal residues from munitions in the environment on (1) foetal, and (2) subsequent child, development in Gaza; and what studies, if any, they have commissioned on this issue.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 5th October 2020

Whilst we have not made an assessment of this issue, we are deeply concerned by the situation in Gaza. In addition to our emergency support to aid the COVID-19 crisis, we are providing a further £2.5m to UN agencies to provide food assistance, medical supplies and personal protection for the most vulnerable Palestinian refugees and non-refugees. The UK urges all parties to prioritise progress towards reaching a durable solution for Gaza and to take the necessary steps to ensure Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 16th September 2020 (HL7733)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they intend to take to support efforts (1) to address water shortages, and (2) to improve living conditions, in Gaza.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 16th September 2020

The UK Government remains deeply concerned by the situation in Gaza. To address water shortages we are funding the construction of pipelines and reservoirs in Gaza that will carry water from the planned Gaza Central Desalination Plant to households and businesses across the strip. When completed this will have doubled the water supply in Gaza, ensuring two million Gazans have greater access to this vital resource.

Our recent £840,000 funding contribution has also enabled the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF to purchase and co-ordinate the delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline public health personnel and scale up laboratory testing capacity in response to COVID-19. The Foreign Secretary recently announced a further £2.7 million funding to UN agencies to provide food assistance, medical supplies and personal protection for the most vulnerable Palestinians.

In addition to our commitment to funding, our Embassy in Tel Aviv and Consulate-General in Jerusalem frequently urge the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to take steps to improve conditions in Gaza. The issue was most recently raised on 20th August. The UK will continue to work to help address the humanitarian situation and improve the lives of the people of Gaza.

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