The British Government’s current position on Israel and Palestine: Water

Question from 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 by 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.

Question from Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 19th June 2020 (HL5433)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about reports that water tanks belonging to Palestinians living in Kafr Qadum were shot by Israeli soldiers.

Answer by Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 18th June 2020

Whilst we have not made representations on these reports, the UK is concerned by the continued destruction of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances such destruction by an occupying power is contrary to International Humanitarian Law. We urge both sides to avoid taking actions which make peace more difficult to achieve.

Question from Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 18th May 2020 (HL4620)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about reports that mobile latrines have been demolished and water tanks have been damaged by Israeli forces in Palestinian and Bedouin communities in the West Bank in March and April. (HL4620)

Answer by Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 2nd June 2020

The UK is seriously concerned by the continued demolition of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process. We have also previously stressed the need to take immediate and practical measures to ensure fair distribution of water in the West Bank.

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