Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall – 26 June 2018
Imran Hussain Labour, Bradford East
My hon. Friend is making a powerful and informed speech, and I congratulate him on securing this important debate. He is absolutely right to say that healthcare is on the brink of closure, but so are other vital services, such as energy, schools and sewage management. Despite humanitarian efforts over 11 years, the situation has worsened year on year. Will he ask the Minister to set out what concrete steps he will take to end this illegal blockade?
Grahame Morris Labour, Easington
Precisely. I am grateful for that contribution, and I hope that the Minister will respond positively and give us some good news about the potential for progress on a lasting settlement and relief for the hardship of those people.
Gaza’s unemployment rate is almost 50%, which is the world’s highest, while 97% of households lack access to clean drinking water. There has been a threefold increase of diarrhoea among under-threes, and in contrast to the global improvement in infant mortality the rate in Gaza has actually stagnated for a decade. Mains electricity is available for only four or five hours a day—less under certain circumstances—which undermines vital services and severely inhibits people’s everyday lives and wellbeing. Some 109 million litres of waste water is released into the sea every day, and almost the whole of the Gaza coastline is contaminated.
I know that the Minister shares my concerns, but we need to do more. We need to step up to the plate for the Gazans. We cannot allow the desperate situation of these innocent people to continue. Taking no action will be counterproductive. It will simply strengthen the position of those who advocate extremism. We need to hear a stronger voice from the UK in the international community.