Israel urged to open up aid access

Sunday, January 18 11:56 am
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Britain urged Israel to open up access to Gaza for aid workers after it halted 
its 22-day military action in the Palestinian territory. Skip related content
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Israel urged to open up aid access

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said that Britain would 
be making an additional £20 million in humanitarian aid available in the wake 
of Israel's unilateral ceasefire declaration"

He told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show that there was now a "heavy responsibility" 
on the Israelis to enable the alleviation of the "dire" humanitarian situation 
in the strip.

"We need aid but we also need access because there has been severe constraints 
on the ability of humanitarian workers and supplies to actually get to the 
population who need it," he said.

"Israelis bear a heavy responsibility. They have allowed humanitarian access 
for about three hours a day which is simply not enough.

"We need to make sure that more convoys can get into Gaza.

"The situation is very, very dire and that is why it is so important that we 
get the support that is needed."

He confirmed that Gordon Brown would be attending an international summit on 
the Gaza crisis being held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh 
under the joint chairmanship of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and French 
President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr Alexander said that it was now important that the ceasefire held and that 
Hamas stopped its shelling of Israeli towns.

"These are very anxious hours for not just people in Gaza and Israel but for 
the whole international community who want to see this temporary unilateral 
ceasefire translated into a permanent ceasefire," he said.

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