Today [Monday 16 October] the Prime Minister has announced a further £10 million in humanitarian aid funding for civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), in response to the escalating conflict.
He made the announcement in a statement to the House of Commons, in which he also reiterated the UK’s condemnation of Hamas’ actions in both Israel and Gaza, and called for immediate access for humanitarian organisations to be allowed to deliver life-saving aid.
This latest commitment is in response to the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, including shortages of key goods and widespread displacement due to the conflict.
This funding will allow trusted partners, including key UN agencies to provide essential relief items and services. These could include food, water and emergency shelter, depending on the needs on the ground.
The UK is also exploring options for moving humanitarian supplies closer to the region and is liaising with aid agencies in the region to ensure relief supplies can be distributed as quickly and effectively as possible.
Speaking in Parliament, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
I’m proud that we are a longstanding and significant provider of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people. And I can announce today that we are increasing our aid by a third, with an additional £10 million of support.
An acute humanitarian crisis is unfolding, to which we must respond. We must support the Palestinian people – because they’re victims of Hamas too.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:
We are committed to supporting the Palestinian people – they are victims of Hamas too. This funding will provide vital, lifesaving support to Palestinian civilians who are caught up in this conflict and are in desperate need of help.
The UN estimates that over 1 million Palestinians have been displaced so far. Prior to the recent escalation of hostilities, the UN estimated that nearly 60% of people in Gaza already needed humanitarian assistance, including over 1.5 million people in need of food assistance and 1.6 million in need of health and nutrition assistance.
Today’s announcement is a 37% uplift to the existing £27m of UK funding this year which is already providing critical support to the region, including an extra £10 million announced by the Foreign Secretary during his visit last month. We will consider further support depending on the changing humanitarian needs on the ground.
The UK remains committed to mitigating the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza while standing alongside the people of Israel against the terrorist group Hamas.
The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have spoken to Israel, Egypt and other international partners about opening the Rafah crossing to allow urgent humanitarian aid into Gaza.
All UK aid funding to the OPTs undergoes rigorous oversight, and no funding goes to Hamas.