The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 23 October 2023.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a new aid package to provide food, water, healthcare, and shelter for those affected by this severe humanitarian crisis.
- Prime Minister announces new aid package to provide food, water, healthcare, and shelter for those affected by this severe humanitarian crisis
- in a statement in the House he reiterated the UK’s commitment to Israel’s defence and called for “a constant stream of aid going in to Gaza”
- new pledge makes UK one of the biggest humanitarian donors to the crisis and follows Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary’s diplomatic efforts to open the Rafah crossing
The UK will provide a further £20 million of humanitarian aid for civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), the Prime Minister announced today (Monday 23 October).
This latest funding is in addition to the £10 million of aid announced by the Prime Minister last week and brings to £30 million the total donated by the UK to the OPTs since Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel on 7 October – more than doubling our existing aid commitment for this year (£27 million).
The Prime Minister made the announcement in a statement to the House of Commons, in which he also set out the UK’s intensive diplomatic efforts to prevent regional escalation, back Israel’s security and support long-term solutions to the crisis in the Middle East.
The additional funding means the UK continues to be at the forefront of the global effort to help Palestinian people access the vital lifesaving support they need. The funding will allow trusted partners, including key UN agencies and the Red Cross, to provide essential relief items and services. The aid will respond to critical food, water, healthcare, shelter and protection needs for those affected by this severe humanitarian crisis.
Speaking in Parliament, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
I recognise that the Palestinian people are suffering terribly. Too many lives have already been lost, and the humanitarian crisis is growing.
We welcome the limited opening of the Rafah crossing – it is important progress, and testament to the power of diplomacy. But it is not enough.
We need a constant stream of aid pouring in, bringing the water, food, medicine and fuel that is so desperately needed.
We are providing an additional £20 million of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza – more than doubling our previous support to the Palestinian people.
The opening of the Rafah crossing allowing aid to enter Gaza came after a series of diplomatic engagements in the Middle East by the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly last week.
The Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:
The UK remains wholeheartedly committed to supporting civilians trapped in Gaza.
Humanitarian access must be allowed so civilians can receive vital, lifesaving support, including food, water and shelter, as quickly and effectively as possible.
The UK is committed to easing the desperate – and deteriorating – humanitarian situation in Gaza, while standing alongside the people of Israel against the terrorist group Hamas. We continue to call for immediate, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access for lifesaving aid to reach Gazans including food, water, fuel and medical supplies, and for all parties to take steps to protect civilians and uphold international law.
The UK will consider further support depending on the changing humanitarian needs on the ground. This goes beyond funding alone and must include diplomatic efforts. The Prime Minister raised humanitarian support his meetings with the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Palestinian Authority last week; and during the Foreign Secretary’s recent visit, he spoke to counterparts in Egypt, Turkey and Qatar to work with them to push for agreement on ongoing humanitarian access to Gaza.
The UK is also working with the Government of Egypt to advocate for the Rafah crossing to be opened for foreign nationals, including British nationals and staff members of the British Consulate and their families, to leave Gaza.