Cameron to Warn Gantz over Gaza Aid as UK Patience Runs Thin

David Cameron, the UK foreign secretary, is expected to deliver a stern warning to Benny Gantz, the Israeli defence minister, over the lack of humanitarian aid reaching Gaza, when they meet in London on Wednesday. Cameron said that Israel, as the occupying power, had a duty to supply aid, and that the UK’s patience was running thin.

Gaza, the coastal enclave that is home to about two million Palestinians, has been under a blockade by Israel and Egypt since 2007, when Hamas took control of the territory. The blockade has severely restricted the movement of people and goods, and has led to chronic shortages of food, water, electricity, medicine, and other essentials.

The situation in Gaza has worsened since October 2023, when Israel launched a military operation against Hamas, in response to rocket attacks from the group. The operation, which lasted for 11 days, killed more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured more than 1,900 others, according to the UN. It also damaged or destroyed more than 17,000 homes, 58 schools, 15 hospitals, and hundreds of businesses and infrastructure facilities.

The UN has warned that Gaza is facing a humanitarian catastrophe, with more than 75% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than 100,000 people displaced. The UN has also said that Gaza is at risk of famine and disease, as food insecurity, malnutrition, and COVID-19 cases are rising.

The UK’s position and requests

The UK, which is one of the largest donors to Gaza, has supported Israel’s right to self-defence, but has also called for an immediate and lasting ceasefire, and for the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers. The UK has also urged Israel to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and to lift the restrictions on the movement of people and goods.

Cameron, who became the foreign secretary in September 2023, has been vocal about the need for urgent action to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. He has said that the UK is providing £30 million in emergency aid to Gaza, and that he has raised the issue with his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, several times.

However, Cameron has also expressed his frustration with the lack of progress and cooperation from Israel, which he said was failing to meet its obligations under international humanitarian law. He has said that the amount of aid that entered Gaza in February 2024 was half of what entered in January, and that too many items were rejected by Israel as dual-use goods.

Cameron has said that he will convey his concerns and warnings to Gantz, who is visiting the UK as part of a European tour, and who is also a member of Israel’s security cabinet. Cameron has said that he will tell Gantz that the UK’s patience is running thin, and that Israel needs to do more to allow aid to reach Gaza.

The Israeli response and perspective

Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization, has said that its military operation in Gaza was necessary and proportionate, and that it did its utmost to avoid civilian casualties. Israel has also said that it is committed to a ceasefire, and that it is willing to cooperate with the international community to facilitate the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Gaza.

However, Israel has also said that it has legitimate security concerns, and that it cannot allow the entry of materials or goods that could be used by Hamas to rebuild its military capabilities or to launch new attacks. Israel has also said that it holds Hamas responsible for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and that it expects the group to disarm and renounce violence.

Gantz, who is also a former chief of staff of the Israeli army, has said that he will discuss the security and humanitarian issues with Cameron, and that he will seek to strengthen the bilateral relations between Israel and the UK. He has also said that he will present Israel’s position and perspective, and that he will stress the need for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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