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“In Gaza we have lost sight of the most basic principles of humanity and proportionality” - IDC Chair writes to new Foreign Secretary David Cameron

16 November 2023

The Chair of the International Development Committee has today written to incoming Foreign Secretary David Cameron, following “harrowing” evidence in Parliament from groups operating on the front line in Gaza: UNRWA, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Medical Aid for Palestinians and Human Rights Watch.

All four organisations were unanimous that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is worsening “not just by the days or weeks, but by the hours and minutes.” The letter pays tribute to all the aid organisations working around the clock in Gaza to try to provide vital humanitarian assistance. To date, 102 UNRWA staff have lost their lives, the highest number of UN fatalities ever recorded in a single conflict.

Chair's comment

The Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, said:

“Since 7 October, almost six weeks ago, less than three days' worth of aid has entered Gaza. The respected agencies we heard from told us that it is becoming impossible to deliver what little humanitarian aid there is due to a lack of fuel, lost communications and the fact that there is no safe space. They cannot even ensure the safety of their own staff or the people sheltering with them.

“The fuel that has been permitted to enter Gaza is not permitted for use for the most basic necessities of human life: to provide clean water or support medical facilities. Hospitals in Gaza have been hit by strikes from air and the ground and two-thirds of them are no longer functioning. Demand for those that remain far exceeds what exhausted medical staff can provide and with no assured safe routes for those evacuating, it is unclear where exactly the sick and injured are meant to go. Dangerously overcrowded shelters are becoming hotbeds for the transmission of yet more, devastating disease. Gaza has become a graveyard for children, with parents writing their family name on their children’s limbs so that aid workers will know to bury them together. Over 5,000 women are due to give birth in these conditions by the end of November.

"This is unimaginable suffering. In Gaza we have lost sight of the most basic principles of humanity and proportionality. The first priority must be to immediately get aid and fuel into Gaza and we need the conditions for that right now.

“The Committee has already published a report on the long-term issues once Palestinians are able to leave Gaza. There will be a huge impact on the surrounding countries, many of them already hosting displaced people from other humanitarian crises in the region. The UK has an historical imperative to play its part in humanitarian support for those who are in Gaza now, and to plan to support the people of Gaza for the months and years ahead. This crisis has deep roots, and sadly, the consequence will not be resolved quickly.”

Image: FCDO from Flickr