Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 14th January 2014.

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Photo of Bob Russell Bob Russell Liberal Democrat, Colchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Israel to end the blockade on Gaza; if he will work with other EU countries to press the Government of Israel to allow essential equipment and parts to be brought into Gaza for the building and operation of desalinisation and power plants; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Minister of State

We continue to make regular representations to the Israeli authorities to ease restrictions on Gaza, including on movement of people and goods to and from Gaza. We stress the damage that the Israeli restrictions are doing to the living standards of ordinary Palestinians in Gaza and that supporting legal trade for Gazans is firmly in Israel's long-term interests.

We have welcomed some recent positive developments, including the Israeli authorities' decision to again allow construction materials to be imported into Gaza for humanitarian projects from 10 December and reports on 18 December that six truckloads of electrical and mechanical equipment required for expansion of the desalination plant entered Gaza through Kerem Shalom.

We are encouraging the Palestinian Authority, Israel and other interested parties to find both an immediate and long-term solution to Gaza's energy crisis. On 15 December, following a Qatari donation to the Palestinian Authority to fund the purchase of fuel for Gaza, Israel allowed 450,000 litres of industrial diesel to enter via the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which enabled the Gaza power plant to restart partial operations for the first time since 1 November.

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