Gaza Border Deaths: Unhrc Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:49 am on 22nd March 2019.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 11:49 am, 22nd March 2019

I think that the right hon. Gentleman’s observations about the nature of Gaza are entirely fair. They are borne out by my own observations, from my first visits in 2010 and 2011 to my most recent visit last year. The sense of a decline in hope and an increase in despair was palpable, both in Gaza and on the west bank. I met Minister Hanegbi from Israel, and I met the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the organisation that deals with the transfer of goods to and from Gaza. I also met representatives of the Palestinian Authority, although of course they do not have control in Gaza.

We continue to exert pressure and make appropriate representations to Israel about what can and should come in and out of Gaza that will assist the economic situation, and we continue to support UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov and his long-term plans for reconstruction and support, but ultimately, only the balance of trust that can lead to the end of violence will produce a viable opportunity for Palestinians. In that context, it is not just the Israeli authorities who have a responsibility. It is important for us to put pressure on all to seek to resolve what is an utterly miserable and wretched situation for the average person in Gaza.