[Mr. Greg Pope in the Chair] — Global Security (Middle East)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:57 pm on 24th January 2008.

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Photo of Brian Iddon Brian Iddon Labour, Bolton South East 3:57 pm, 24th January 2008

I appreciate my hon. Friend's correction. That is exactly what I intended to say.

Gaza is a prison, but there are people there whom we would not normally put in an ordinary prison. Young children live there, babies are born there, very elderly people live there, as do some very sick people. We should not lose sight of that. I have read reports in recent months of surgeons becoming desperate. Obviously, they have only limited access to medicines, which makes surgery more difficult in the Gaza strip.

I have read reports of surgeons accompanying very sick people to crossings in the hope of getting into the west bank, or even into Israel to its hospitals. They have communicated by radio while the ambulance is travelling or waiting at the checkpoint to see whether the Israeli Government would accept the patients as they have in the past, but surgeons have been reduced to tears because their patient has simply died. Many women die in childbirth for the same reasons—they are unable to access proper medical care.

Hospitals without electricity or generators to produce electricity because of a lack diesel obviously cannot function. The operating theatres cannot be used, which means that many people are dying and that many will die. Not only that, but 400 kidney patients are unable to access dialysis because the machines cannot function. If we do not deal with the situation as an urgent humanitarian crisis, those 400 people are on their way to death, for obvious reasons. Children are born in temperatures of minus 3° C. People think that the middle east is a warm place, but temperatures plunge at night, and babies who are born in hospitals or homes in such temperatures, particularly sick babies, will not survive.

There is no way to sterilise hospital equipment, even to carry out basic operations. Obviously, without electricity, people cannot live properly.