Britain on Sunday announced it was giving 19 million pounds for refugees in Gaza and repeated calls for Israel to lift its blockade of the territory.
“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is both unacceptable and unsustainable,” International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said announcing the funds, which will help support schools and health clinics for Gazan refugees.
The money is part of a five-year, 100-million-pound agreement signed with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in 2006.
Confirmation of this year’s contribution comes amid renewed concern about Israel’s blockade of Gaza following a deadly raid by Israeli commandos on an aid ship bound for the Palestinian territory earlier this week.
“There is an immediate need for unfettered access to Gaza if the humanitarian situation is to be improved, to allow the economy to get back on its feet, and to give the young people of Gaza the prospect of a better future,” Mitchell said.
“I call on the government of Israel to open the crossings to help end this humanitarian crisis.”
About 70 per cent of Gazans depend on UNRWA for healthcare, education and other basic services, British officials say.