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ISRAEL strike on Gaza Reuters banner.JPG
ISRAEL strike on Gaza Reuters.JPG
World News

‘International community has failed to promote peace’: Christian Aid responds as Israel seals Gaza Strip

by Heather Preston

Christian Aid has criticised international powers for failing to bring about a “just and lasting peace” between Israel and Palestine as the Gaza blockade sparks fears of a humanitarian crisis.

Israel says it has regained control of the Gaza border after it launched multiple airstrikes and sealed the territory off from fuel, food and electricity supplies.

The area is home to 2.3 million people, half of whom are minors.

The move comes after Palestinian militant group Hamas - which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the UK Government – launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on Saturday.

According to local authorities, over 900 people have been killed in Israel and some 770 in Gaza, since the violence broke out. Dozens more have been taken hostage by Hamas.

William Bell, Head of Middle East Policy & Advocacy for Christian Aid tells Premier the situation for civilians in Gaza is appalling since Israel closed its border.

“As an aid agency with a mandate to focus on poverty, we've worked in Gaza for many years… and this is one of the most intense incidents that they've experienced.

“There is intense bombing taking place… electricity, gas, water and food supplies will have to come from either what is inside or from the border with Egypt, which is not the most reliable.

“The population are facing a really uncertain few days ahead, as they know that the bombing is only going to get worse and the likelihood of a land invasion is clearly very high. So our concern for them is immense.”

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an emergency corridor of aid, to ensure essential supplies can reach those who need them.

The conflict has sparked protests in London and Manchester, with police separating pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups in Kensington.

On Monday the leaders of the UK, US, France, Germany and Italy released a joint statement expressing “steadfast and united support” for the state of Israel and “unequivocal condemnation” of Hamas.

Speaking at the United Synagogue in Finchley that evening, Rishi Sunak declared "There are not two sides to these events.

"There is no question of balance. I stand with Israel."

Bell has called the “unequivocal” support for Israel “problematic”.

“It’s one thing to express absolute solidarity and abhorrence with what happened. There is no justification.

“[this statement] was giving absolute unequivocal support and steadfastness to Israel. It felt like a green light to do what it feels Israel needs to do in Gaza.

“There needs to be an acknowledgement that part of the reason that the Palestinians and the Israelis are in the situation that they are, is because the international community has failed to play a role to bring about a just and lasting peace."

Bell says he hopes to see international governments adopt a “renewed effort” to ensure peace, dignity and security for Palestinian and Israeli civilians in response to recent events.


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