House of Lords written question – answered on 27th March 2014.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations to the government of Egypt in respect of the opening of crossing points from Egypt into Gaza for pedestrians and vehicles.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We remain concerned by the humanitarian situation in Gaza. We are pressing Israel, as the Occupying Power, to ease its restrictions on Gaza, stressing the damage that those restrictions are doing to the living standards of ordinary Palestinians and how supporting legal trade for Gazans is firmly in Israel’s long-term interests.

We remain concerned at the frequent closures of the Rafah crossing, and the additional pressure that this puts on the fragile humanitarian situation. Egypt is facilitating humanitarian deliveries through Rafah, although the difficult security situation in Sinai is a limiting factor on quantities. We continue to encourage the Egyptian authorities to ease the movement of bona fide travellers and increase the delivery of humanitarian aid through Rafah while expressing our hope that legal trade can also be introduced in the future.

Both the National Security Adviser and the British Consul-General in Jerusalem discussed the situation in Gaza with the Egyptian authorities during visits to Cairo in November 2013 and we continue to raise this issue in our contacts with the Egyptian authorities. On 18 March the British Ambassador in Cairo raised our concerns about humanitarian assistance to Gaza with the Egyptian authorities.

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