The Department for International Development (DfID) has said it is “stepping up” its aid efforts in Gaza, with a focus on providing “additional medical support”.
The announcement from International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt came on Thursday in response to a question in the House of Commons from the senior Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael.
The Scottish MP said Israeli forces had shot and killed three Palestinian health workers “whilst trying to reach, treat and evacuate wounded demonstrators”. He added that another 600 health workers had been injured.
Mordaunt said the Government “have stepped up our offer [of humanitarian aid work] in particular looking at providing additional medical support”.
In December, the Government said it was providing an additional £5 million in emergency food aid to 62,000 Palestinian refugees in Gaza “who are at risk of going hungry”.
Bags of flour, rice, sugar, chickpeas, sunflower oil, whole milk, lentils and canned sardines were provided “to counter food supply problems affecting refugees who are unable to afford rising food prices in Gaza”.
The UK already gives the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) more than £60 million annually but Middle East Minister Alistair Burt recently said he was “concerned about the worsening situation in the Gaza Strip”.
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”