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Andrew calls for action on aid to Palestine

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Andrew Smith MP has welcomed the International Development Select Committee’s new report on aid to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and called on the Secretary of State to implement its recommendations.

In the immediate term the report calls for emergency medical aid to Gaza, and longer-term aid to rebuild the public health infrastructure there which has been heavily damaged.

The report calls for the British Government to press the Government of Israel to halt settlement expansion and demolitions of Palestinian homes and property, and to ensure equitable access to water resources.

It also calls for British aid to be stepped up pending a final peace settlement, to help rebuild the economy of the Palestinian territories which has been so heavily damaged by conflict, including supporting plans to open Gaza’s port and improve transport infrastructure.  This of course would entail an easing of restrictions imposed by the Government of Israel, which the report concludes are “often without real security justification”.

Finally, the report called for British aid to support organization that bring people together across ethnic and religious divides in Israel and Palestine.

Andrew said, “I strongly commend this report, which backs up the commitment and work of those in Oxford who are engaged in providing practical aid to Gaza and the West Bank, such as Oxfam who gave evidence to the Select Committee, and Sir Terence English and others who have volunteered their services to provide medical training in Palestinian hospitals.  It calls for the British Government not only to provide aid but to press the Government of Israel to lift restrictions which are strangling the Palestinian economy.

“I very much hope the Government will implement all the recommendations of this report.  For the Government to put its finance and influence behind these recommendations would represent a step toward the only kind of settlement that can bring peace, with an economically viable Palestinian state, and security for both Palestinians and Israelis.”

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