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Aid workers should never be targeted. More needs to be done to protect them in Gaza: UK statement at the UN Security Council

President, aid workers should never be targeted. Over two hundred have been killed in this conflict. Israel must do much more to protect them and to ensure their safety so they can deliver urgently needed lifesaving humanitarian assistance. For this to happen, we call for three major changes:

Our Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary spoke immediately with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli Foreign Minister Katz to ask for a transparent investigation and welcome the communication of the initial findings from the Israeli government, and the commitments Israel has since made on humanitarian operations.

And all parties must fully comply with international humanitarian law and work with USG Kaag to scale up assistance and implement resolution 2720 without delay.

First, Israel must make significant, concrete changes to put in place an effective deconfliction mechanism immediately. It is imperative that those doing life-saving work are properly protected and allowed full, unhindered access to conduct their work safely.

The UK is appalled by the killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers, including three of our British nationals, in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on 1 April; bringing the total number of humanitarian staff killed so far to over two hundred. I share our sincere condolences with their families, and with all those who have lost loved ones during this war.

This weekend, it will be six months since Israel suffered the worst terror attack in its history. Throughout this crisis, the UK has been unequivocal in our condemnation of Hamas and demand for the unconditional release of the hostages. We must see an immediate cessation of hostilities to get aid in and hostages out, leading to progress towards a sustainable ceasefire.

Finally, we need to see major and immediate changes in the conduct of Israel’s military campaign to protect civilians. I reiterate the UK’s call for the immediate implementation of resolution 2728.

Second, we welcome the steps Israel has now taken and call on it to do everything necessary to allow effective humanitarian relief.  We welcome the assurances that Israel has given to UN agencies and others that it will now open Ashdod Port, more land crossings into Gaza, increase quantities and types of aid allowed to enter by land, and improve water supplies.  The amount of aid getting in has until now been insufficient.  Full, unhindered access, as well as an enabling operating environment for distribution, is necessary to meet humanitarian needs and avoid famine.

Thank you.


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