Occupied Territories

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 31st March 2004.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for International Development 11:30 am, 31st March 2004

I, too, saw the same sights when I was in Gaza last summer: I am sure that hon. Members know that 1.5 million Palestinians depend on food aid, 60 per cent. of the Palestinian population live on less than $2.10 a day and poverty has increased dramatically since the intifada. I share my hon. Friend's concern that the restrictions on humanitarian access to Gaza that the Israeli Government have introduced are a major constraint on aid and services, not only for the Palestinian Authority, which she mentioned, but for the United Nations and other agencies. We are therefore lobbying the Israeli Government hard to ensure that there is adequate humanitarian access because that is essential if the condition of the Palestinian people is not to worsen further.