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Lord Cameron: UK involved in US port plans for Gaza ‘from the start’

Lord David Cameron has said the lack of aid getting into Gaza is “frustrating” as he revealed the UK’s involvement in US plans to increase the flow of humanitarian relief into the beleaguered territory.

The foreign secretary was speaking after US President Joe Biden announced the US military will establish a temporary port on the Gaza coast that will be able to receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelters.

Lord Cameron said the UK had been involved in the new maritime corridor “from the start” and had been “helping with the pre-screening of aid”, adding: “We check it in Cyprus so it doesn’t have to be re-checked when it arrives.”

However, despite welcoming the US development, he urged Israel to open its own port of Ashdod which could be used to deliver aid while the port is built.

He told broadcasters: “It’s going to take time to build, so the crucial thing is today, the Israelis must confirm that they’ll open the port at Ashdod.

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“That is in Israel, but that’s a working port. It could take aid now – that would increase the amount of aid – and that aid can then be driven into Gaza.”

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He added: “That would make a real difference, and we need to make a real difference right now.”

His words echoed those used by Mr Biden, who said: “Israel must also do its part.”

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US to build port to increase Gaza aid

An Israeli government spokesperson told Sky’s The World with Yalda Hakim they welcomed their “allies’ support in getting more aid to the people that need it” and insisted there were “no limits on the amount of aid that can go into Gaza”.

Avi Hyman said “the problem isn’t getting aid into Gaza, it’s the distribution of aid once it’s in Gaza”.

He claimed that this week a record 277 trucks went through into the Palestinian territory in one day and the government was “doing our utmost to get the supplies in”. However, he said Hamas was “doing their utmost to steal them”.

Asked if he was frustrated with the time it would take to build the new port, Lord Cameron replied: “This is frustrating because we need more aid to go in.”

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Israel insists no limits on Gaza aid

He said the last few days had seen an average of around 120 trucks going in and added: “We need more like 500 a day, not 120.

“And we’ve repeatedly called on the Israelis to change the things that need to be changed: More openings into Gaza, more UN staff inside Gaza able to transport the aid around Gaza, making sure that they switch back on the water and electricity that goes from Israel to Gaza.

“These things would make a difference. And if we want to make a difference quickly, it is the number of trucks that go in that are the most important that we can measure.”

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He continued: “Because at the moment, the humanitarian situation is dire, with people who are going hungry, people dying of disease, and with a shortage of food and medicine and all the things that people need.”

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza after Hamas killed some 1,200 people and took around 250 hostage on 7 October last year.

More than 100 hostages were released in November in exchange for 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

The number of Palestinians killed has reached more than 30,800, according to the Hamas-led health ministry in Gaza, and aid agencies have warned that the region’s population is on the verge of famine.

Sky News Source