Sorting by


Rishi Sunak doubles UK aid to Gaza but rejects calls for a ceasefire as he pushes to free trapped Britons

Rishi Sunak has pledged to double emergency aid to Gaza but rejected calls for a ceasefire as he pushes for relief for Britons trapped in the region.

The Prime Minister said he was “doing everything in my power” to ensure British hostages captured by Hamas are freed as soon as possible.

And he promised to work to open Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt so that UK nationals trapped in the enclave, which is braced for a ground invasion by Israel any day, can leave.

Mr Sunak told the House of Commons on Monday: “We are providing an additional £20m of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza – more than doubling our previous support to the Palestinian people.”

He recounted meeting the relatives of Hamas hostages during his brief tour of the Middle East last week, saying: “Their pain will stay with me for the rest of my days. I am doing everything in my power – and working with all of our partners – to get their loved ones home.”

But he added: “This is not a time for hyperbole and simplistic solutions. It is a time for quiet and dogged diplomacy that recognises the hard realities on the ground and delivers help now. And we have an important role to play.”

The Prime Minister rejected calls from several MPs for the British Government to back a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. He said: “It is difficult to tell Israel to have a ceasefire when it is still facing rocket fire on an almost daily basis, and when its citizens are still being held hostage and it has suffered an appalling terrorist attack where it has a right to defend itself.”

Asked whether any British citizens trapped in Gaza had been able to leave the strip via the Rafah crossing to Egypt, which was reopened on Saturday for the first time since the latest conflict erupted, Mr Sunak replied: “I know it will be a frightening time for British nationals in Gaza and their families. We are continuing to provide assistance to them and they are in contact with the Foreign Office.

“We have not been able to secure the movement of any British nationals the other way across the Rafah crossing but we have already had those discussions with the Egyptians, including myself with President El-Sisi to ensure that when the possibility is there that they can cross and indeed we have pre-positioned rapid deployment teams for the border force into Egypt and close to the border to make sure that logistically we can collect them and get them home as safely as possible when that happens.”

In his response, Sir Keir Starmer – who has been criticised by Labour colleagues over his support for Israel – said: “There must now be clear humanitarian corridors within Gaza for those escaping violence. Civilians must not be targeted. And where Palestinians are forced to flee, they must not be permanently displaced from their homes. International law is clear.

“It also means basic services including water, electricity, and the fuel needed for it, cannot be denied. Hamas may not care for the safety and security of the Palestinian people, but we do.”

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button