Yesterday, Middle East Minister Alistair Burt underlined that “immediate attention” should be given to humanitarian aid in Gaza, and condemned Hamas’s “policy of destruction towards the State of Israel”. The Minister made clear that those who “exploit the situation politically” must bear responsibility.
Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt MP’s comments were made in response to a Westminster Hall debate, in which MPs expressed their concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Numerous Conservative MPs contributed in the debate, highlighting the misappropriation of international aid by Hamas for its terrorist infrastructure. They noted Israel’s efforts to relieve the suffering of the Gazan population, despite the security threats emanating from the territory.
CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman in the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP, emphasised that the “desperate humanitarian conditions faced by Gazans” were partly caused by the “ongoing dispute between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank”. He added that Egypt’s “Rafah crossing is hardly ever opened to allow humanitarian supplies in from Egypt” and that “Hamas runs Gaza with an iron fist and is guilty of numerous accounts of misappropriating aid”.
CFI Officer Matthew Offord MP referred to the recent violence on the Gaza border, stating that the “High Committee of the ‘Great March of Return’, which includes Hamas, [posted] on Facebook a request that people bring a knife or gun to the protests”, and that it is “a distortion of the truth to ignore the role of Hamas in this violence”.
Conservative MP for Southport, Damien Moore, condemned the increase in rocket fire from Gaza-based militants towards Israel in recent weeks, noting that “last Wednesday, a rocket exploded outside a nursery in southern Israel”.
He deplored the “antisemitism of Hamas”, emphasising the “importance of the hatred that drives Hamas to launch bombs attached to balloons in the direction of innocent children”.
Jack Lopresti MP highlighted Israel’s relief efforts in Gaza, stating that “Israel has doubled the amount of water it provides to Gaza to relieve the water crisis that Gazans face”. He added: “Each day, around 700 trucks of supplies of medication, food and building materials enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. In total, 10 million tonnes of construction material have been delivered to Gaza since 2014”.
Mr Lopresti concluded that “Hamas has been the undeniable root cause of the suffering and devastation in Gaza”, and is “a genuine threat to the security of Israel and the wider region”.
CFI Officer Paul Masterton, MP for East Renfrewshire, expressed his incomprehension that “on at least three occasions in recent weeks, Hamas has set fire to the crossing and to the gas pipelines that serve the people of Gaza”.
He added that “Israel regularly allows Gazan patients to get treatment in Israel, and helps Gazan doctors and nurses to receive further medical training at Israeli hospitals”, referring to his visit to Save a Child’s Heart in Israel, which provides “life-saving heart surgery to Palestinian children” and trains “Palestinian doctors who will return to Gaza where they will be able to perform the surgery themselves”.
CFI Officer Chris Davies MP welcomed reports “that Israel and Cyprus are working together to build a sea port to facilitate Gaza’s rehabilitation, while also ensuring that Hamas will not be able to exploit the port for smuggling weapons”.
He called on Hamas to cease its violent activity in the region, to “abide by the Quartet Principles and immediately renounce violence against Israel”.
Responding to the debate, Minister Burt announced that the UK Government is bringing forward aid to give to the UN Relief and Works Agency to help it to meet its shortfall.
He said that since gaining power in Gaza, the Hamas terror group “has achieved nothing politically and has damaged the people it purports to represent”.
He strongly condemned Hamas, which he described as a “terrorist organisation that is clearly hell-bent on killing [Israelis] if it gets the chance”.
Minister Burt emphasised the “urgent need for a political settlement and for immediate attention to be given to humanitarian aid in Gaza”, adding that the Palestinian Authority must be included in peace talks. He made clear: “It cannot all depend on Hamas and what it has been able to achieve over the years with its policy of destruction towards the State of Israel”.
Read the full transcript of the debate here.