UK government urged to act to end humanitarian crisis in Gaza

UK government urged to act to end humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy says conflict in Gaza 'has suddenly reached another phase and many more innocent lives will be lost if we do not act now'

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – The British government was urged Monday to act to end the ongoing bloodshed in the Middle East, which since Oct. 7 has cost the lives of nearly 15,900 people.

The calls to act came at an urgent question session in the House of Commons as the “humanitarian pause” in Gaza ended last Friday with Israel resuming airstrikes.

Expressing regret that neither Prime Minister Rishi Sunak nor Foreign Secretary David Cameron was in parliament to make a statement today, opposition Labour MP and shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the conflict in Gaza “has suddenly reached another phase and many more innocent lives will be lost if we do not act now.”

“We urge the government to continue to push for another cessation of hostilities and for all remaining hostages to be freed,” she said.

She added: “And to be clear, Israel must not proceed or blockade Gaza. It must comply with international law and protect innocent lives and civilian infrastructure and ensure attempts to address the humanitarian catastrophe are ramped up quickly. In the last few days, partners on the ground have become increasingly concerned about the safe zone.”

Nandy also said “shelters are severely overcrowded, dysentery is spreading, and the risk of cholera is now significant, that must be mitigated.”

“Is there a serious plan to deal with sewage and distribute medicine and vaccines?” she asked.

Nandy said nearly 2 million people have been displaced and most of them are living in tents under winter conditions.

“I urge the minister again to follow the US lead and appoint a humanitarian coordinator to get the trucks moving … The UK and partners must redouble efforts towards an enduring cessation of hostilities and a lasting political solution,” she said.

She added: “Israel must be assured that Hamas cannot carry out an attack like October 7th ever again.”

“But to build a lasting peace, we must assure a generation of Palestinians there's hope that they, their children and grandchildren can expect the security and opportunity that is there right, with a plan for children both to prevent their deaths and to prioritize their lives and a clear message that there can be no real occupation or reduction of guards and territory and that those displaced have the right to return home,” she said.

Nandy also urged the UK government “to play its part in ending the illegal settlements and settler violence in the West Bank and create a plan for the reconstruction and renewal of Gaza.”

“We must do more without delay to deal with the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in front of us as we work simultaneously towards a better future, (as) many more lives will be lost if we do not act now.”


- ‘Pushing for a further pause’

“We are pushing for a further pause,” Leo Docherty, parliamentary under secretary of state at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, said in response to Nandy.

“We regard this as imperative to see the success as it were of the last one showed the utility of a pause in terms of the increased flow of humanitarian support and we continue to strain every sinew in terms of our diplomacy to aim for that,” he said.

Saying that Foreign Secretary David Cameron “made that argument to his various ministerial colleagues last week and will continue to do that with his counterparts and ministerial counterparts right across the Middle East,” Docherty said they will “continue to monitor” the situation in safe zones.

He also said the government is “confident that the way we are channeling our funds through the UN agencies is the right way to go about that.”

Docherty said that the political mandate in the region should not also be forgotten as it “runs in tandem and our stance when it comes to illegal settlements in the West Bank and our continued support, our longstanding support for a sustainable solution that sees Palestinian statehood at the heart of the future of the region, is undiminished and that's something that in addition to our humanitarian efforts, our political effort, and our diplomatic effort will continue to argue for Palestinian statehood as the seed for a long-term solution in the region.”

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