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Britain to Warn Israel’s Gantz Over Famine in Gaza

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will warn Israel on Wednesday that its patience is running thin over the “dreadful suffering” in Gaza, where a lack of aid is leading people to die of hunger, foreign minister David Cameron said.

Cameron, who is due to meet Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz on Wednesday, told parliament late on Tuesday that Israel’s handling of aid for Gaza, as the occupying power, raised questions over its compliance with international law.

“We are facing a situation of dreadful suffering in Gaza,” Cameron told the upper House of Lords. “I spoke some weeks ago about the danger of this tipping into famine and the danger of illness tipping into disease; and we are now at that point.

War in Israel and Gaza

RAFAH, GAZA - FEBRUARY 29: Palestinian children taking refuge in Tel al-Sultan region due to Israeli attacks decorate their tents with Ramadan lanterns and illuminate lights ahead of the holy Islamic fasting month of Ramadan in Rafah, Gaza on February 29, 2024. (Photo by Belal Khaled/Anadolu via Getty Images)

“People are dying of hunger; people are dying of otherwise preventable diseases.”

Britain, like the United States, initially gave its backing to Israel’s assault on Gaza in response to an attack by the militant group Hamas on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages back to the enclave.

But Cameron, a former prime minister, has stepped up calls for a ceasefire in recent weeks as Palestinian health authorities put the death toll at 30,000 people and the United Nations warned that many were on the brink of starvation.

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Cameron told parliament that aid going to Gaza in February was around half the amount that was delivered in January.

“The patience needs to run very thin and a whole series of warnings needs to be given, starting, I hope, with a meeting I have with Minister Gantz when he visits the UK tomorrow,” he said.

Gantz, a political rival to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, heard a similar message when he met U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington on Monday. She said Israel needed to craft a “credible” humanitarian plan for Gaza, after she previously warned that conditions there were “inhumane”.

The UN and other relief agencies have accused Israel of blocking or restricting aid into Gaza – a charge it denies.

Cameron said too many items were rejected from being sent to Gaza because they “are supposedly dual-use goods”.

Israel has said it is committed to improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza and there is no limit on the aid for civilians. It has blamed the United Nations for any delivery issues, saying limitations on the quantity and pace of aid are dependent on the capacity of the U.N. and other agencies.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters.

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