UK aid for Gaza ‘stuck at border for weeks’ as David Cameron blames Israel for delays | World News

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Foreign Secretary David Cameron has accused Israel of delaying UK aid to Gaza, saying some supplies have been stuck at the border for almost three weeks.

In a letter to the Commons foreign affairs select committee chair Alicia Kearns, Lord Cameron said it was “of enormous frustration”, blaming “arbitrary denials” by the Israeli government as one of the “main blockers” of the aid.

He also contradicted claims by former Israeli spokesperson Eylon Levy – who has been suspended – that the Kerem Shalom crossing in the south of Gaza had been closed on Saturdays at the request of the UN.

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Gaza on brink of ‘desperate situation’

Lord Cameron said Israel closes it “due to the Sabbath”.

Israel rejected claims it is blocking aid from going into Gaza, saying the crossing is closed “by agreement with the UN”.

It blamed the UN’s failure to distribute the aid.

In response to the letter, COGAT, the Israeli body which coordinates humanitarian aid to Gaza, invited Kearns to “meet with COGAT and hear the full scale of Israel’s humanitarian efforts towards the Gaza Strip.”

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It comes as the US is set to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as part of a hostage deal in a UN Security Council resolution on Friday.

In spite of Lord Cameron’s criticism, Downing Street believed Israel was acting within international humanitarian law.

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Inside British field hospital in Gaza

The UK has provided food for 275,000 people in Gaza, amid warnings of an “imminent famine” in the war-ravaged territory.

COGAT said on Thursday that 208 humanitarian aid trucks were inspected by Israel and transferred to the Gaza Strip, mostly carrying food.

They said 155 trucks were distributed by UN aid agencies.

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It’d be ‘easy to flood Gaza with food’

Lord Cameron said: “Before the conflict, around 500 trucks (of both aid and commercial items) entered Gaza each day. The daily average for the first part of March has been around 165 trucks a day, although there is significant fluctuation from day to day.

“This is an improvement over January and February, but still more urgent progress is needed.”

Parachutes drop supplies into the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)
Image:
Some aid has been dropped into Gaza via the air. Pic: AP

He has called on Israel to open a land crossing in the north, which is currently being trialled by Israeli authorities, as well as more visas to UN staff to deliver supplies.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing pressure from Western allies over plans to invade the southern city of Rafah and has been accused of restricting the flow of aid.

Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of UNRWA, the UN body that delivers aid to Gaza, told Sky News’ The World With Yalda Hakim on Wednesday: “It is easy to flood Gaza with food. It is easy to reverse this trend.

“It is a stain in our collective humanity that such a situation is artificially unfolding under our eyes.”

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