EXCLUSIVE: ‘No way near far enough,’ leader of Lib Dems calls on PM to step up humanitarian commitment to besieged Gazans


By Elham Asaad Buaras

London, (The Muslim News): Leader of the Liberal Democrats has today called on the UK to step up its humanitarian response to the ongoing siege on Gaza, criticizing the government’s current commitment as ‘no way near far enough.’

The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is dire, with the UN estimating that over 1 million Palestinians have been displaced so far since the conflict started on October 7.

There is only a few hours’ worth of water and electricity left in the area, according to reports. According to the World Health Organization, Gaza is on the verge of a “real catastrophe”.

Before the recent escalation of hostilities, the UN estimated that nearly 60 per cent of Palestinians in Gaza already needed humanitarian aid, with over 1.5 million people in need of food assistance and 1.6 million in need of health and nutrition assistance.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday pledged £10 million for Palestinian civilians stuck in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

The aid is “an increase of a third on existing aid” and is a 37 per cent uplift on the existing £27 million of UK funding this year to support the region, including an extra £10 million announced by the UK Foreign Secretary for almost 6 million Palestinian refugees during his visit to the region in September this year.

However, in a letter to the PM, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Ed Davey, called the amount committed by the UK Government ‘no way near far enough.’

Sir Davey claimed the country’s “hands are tied in response to devastating humanitarian crises like this,” thanks to the Conservative government’s decision to cut the UK’s overseas development budget, ‘a decision you made as Chancellor.’

‘Following the cut, the annual humanitarian relief reserve fund has been slashed from £500 million a year to just £30 million,’ writes Sir Davey.

Listing other dire humanitarian crises this year, including the earthquakes in Türkiye, Syria, and Morocco, as well as the ongoing war in Ukraine, Sir Davey said, ‘It is clear that the Conservative cut to the international development budget has meant that the UK has broken its promise to the most vulnerable and is not playing its part on the world stage.’

‘I therefore urge you to reverse the cut, restore spending on international development, and restore humanitarian aid to the 0.7% of the national income target that was enshrined in law by the Liberal Democrats in 2015. As part of this, it’s vital that the UK increases the amount of aid that it is supplying to help innocent civilians in Gaza. ‘

Sir Davey also reaffirmed his party’s position on the ongoing crises, stating that the ‘Liberal Democrats support Israel’s right to defend itself, in accordance with international law,’ which entails ‘targeting terrorists, not civilians’ and ensuring that ‘innocent civilians do not pay the price for Hamas’ actions.’

He also called on the UK government to ‘ensure that our aid is delivered to Gaza as soon as possible. I urge you to work closely with our European and US allies and make representations to the Israeli and Egyptian governments to ensure that the delivery of aid can be facilitated as quickly as possible.’

[Photo: A mother mourns for his son, died in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 18, 2023.
Photojournalist :Abed Zagout/AA]

The post EXCLUSIVE: ‘No way near far enough,’ leader of Lib Dems calls on PM to step up humanitarian commitment to besieged Gazans appeared first on The Muslim News.

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