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UK must use influence to help protect civilians in Gaza – aid agencies

Twelve aid agencies have called on Rishi Sunak to push for an end to fighting in and around Gaza and an end to the Israeli siege.

Twelve aid agencies have called on Rishi Sunak to push for an end to fighting in and around Gaza and an end to the Israeli siege amid mounting concerns about civilian casualties.

A joint statement on Saturday urged the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to help bring the situation to an end and “prevent further suffering”.

The statement was released by Oxfam, Action Against Hunger, War Child, Islamic Relief, Christian Aid, Cafod, Plan International UK and Humanity and Inclusion.

Other signees include Action Aid UK, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Care International UK and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

A house damaged by Hamas militants is seen in Kibbutz Be’eri, Israel
A house damaged by Hamas militants is seen in Kibbutz Be’eri, Israel (Ariel Schalit/AP)

They said: “We are horrified by the escalating violence in recent days and the mounting civilian death toll in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Nothing can ever justify the deliberate targeting of civilians; hostage taking; cutting off food and water supplies; and indiscriminate and disproportionate military attacks.

“The priority now must be to prevent further suffering.

“The UK should be using its influence to ensure International Humanitarian Law is upheld, that civilians are protected in accordance with those laws, and that they have access to critical lifesaving humanitarian support.”

The statement calls on the Government to press all parties involved to agree an “immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities”, as well as ensuring the immediate release of captives.

They also urge all parties to allow emergency aid to reach people in Gaza and an “immediate end to the total siege, ensuring unfettered humanitarian access”.

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