A year after the conflict in Gaza came to an end, there is still much to do to rebuild damaged infrastructure and ensure that people in Gaza are able to return to their homes and to access basic amenities.
The UN have emphasised that many thousands of people are still unable to return to their home or to undertake necessary repairs and that funding shortages for aid relief programmes may mean that key services such as schools and education programmes may be closed. The economy in Gaza also remains extremely weak, with high unemployment and an estimated 80% of the population dependent on aid.
I believe that the UK and our international partners have a responsibility to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to those desperately in need and to help rebuild the infrastructure in Gaza. There also needs to be a sustained opening of the crossing into Gaza and reliable movement of materials for reconstruction and humanitarian aid.
As you may be aware, the UK Government has provided financial support for UN aid and reconstruction projects in Gaza. This is, of course welcome, and I hope that other countries will also deliver on their funding pledges. I also appreciate, however, that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) report there is a significant shortfall in their emergency shelter programme for Gaza and have called on donor countries to urgently address this.
It is also vital that our humanitarian efforts are accompanied by a wider, concerted push for a lasting political settlement that ensures the self-determination of the Palestinian people. As a supporter of the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East campaigning group helping work for this goal will be a priority of mine during my time in Parliament.