Prime Minister David Cameron has announced an extra £3 million aid for Gaza as he again called for an unconditional ceasefire to stop the conflict.
Britain had already given £7m in aid but, questioned about the conflict at an event yesterday, Mr Cameron said a further £3m was being diverted to the aid effort “to help make sure the people in Gaza have the basic necessities of life, the food, the shelter and the assistance that they need”.
He repeated the call for both Israel and Hamas to put down their weapons, but blamed Hamas for breaking ceasefires.
“We should be very clear that we want an unconditional, immediate, humanitarian ceasefire that applies to everybody,” he said.
“What we are seeing happening in Gaza is completely tragic and ghastly, the loss of life is appalling, it is heart-rending watching these scenes on our television.
“But while calling for an unconditional, immediate ceasefire, we do have to be clear about a couple of points. Yes, it is awful what is happening in Gaza and the loss of life, but we do have to remember, whenever we have had a ceasefire in the last few days, it has been a ceasefire that has been obeyed and observed by the Israelis but it has not been observed by Hamas.
“Hamas continue the rocket attacks that are not aimed at military targets or political targets. They are aimed, indiscriminately, into Israel in order to do the maximum damage they possibly can.
“And so we do have to understand that that has to stop in order for there to be a lasting ceasefire.”
The Prime Minister, speaking at a ‘Cameron Direct’ question-and-answer session in Warrington, Cheshire, said he was worried because the “facts on the ground” were “beginning to make a two-state solution impossible”.
The extra £3m will fund an emergency food programme for Gaza’s 1.8m population.
More than 1,300 Palestinians and 55 Israelis have been killed in the conflict and more than 200,000 have been displaced from their homes.
Israel launched its offensive in Gaza after a surge in rocket fire from the territory and Hamas, which controls Gaza, has said it will not stop fighting until a blockade on the area, maintained by both Israel and Egypt, is lifted.
Announcing the new aid, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said it would “get food to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people”.
Access to food is an increasing issue of concern in Gaza, with the United Nations reporting shortages and sharp increases in the prices of certain products.
In the latest skirmishes, at least 16 people were killed and more than 150 injured yesterday afternoon by an Israeli airstrike in a crowded shopping area. Hours earlier Israeli tank shells blasted a UN school sheltering displaced Palestinians, killing 15 people, Gaza health officials said.
Anti-Israel show protest
Dozens of protesters demonstrated against an Edinburgh Festival show supported by the Israeli government yesterday.
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign want Incubator Theatre production ‘The City’ to be cancelled.
Mick Napier, secretary of the SPSC, said: “Our plan is to protest every day and also to use non-violent direct action to prevent it going ahead.”
The show’s promoters, John Stalker Productions, said the Jerusalem theatre company receives an element of arts funding from Israel’s Ministry of Culture, among others.