In January, the UK Government and several other countries froze funding for the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA). This was following allegations that a dozen staff from the agency were involved in the 7th October attack by Hamas. These allegations led to the suspension of $450 million of aid, at a time when more than 2 million Gazans are facing the worst humanitarian crisis for decades.

These allegations were never substantiated, and many countries have rightly recognised their moral obligation to ensure they are funding as much aid to prevent further suffering and death in the Gaza Strip, and have restored this vital funding. These countries include Canada, Australia, Sweden and the European Union. Not the UK or the US, though.

The UK Government, in light of the allegations, suspended funding and stated that no further UK funding was due until April 2024, and has not committed any further funding to the agency. This is despite many reports from Gaza of children going days without food as aid can no longer reach them.

This week, Labour called an Urgent Question in the House of Commons to ask the Government to make a statement on the situation in Gaza. In this debate, I highlighted the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza – the people dying from famine, the Palestinians being killed trying to get flour to feed their families – and called on the Government to commit not only to restarting, but increasing, funding for UNRWA.

We cannot merely be bystanders. We all have a moral obligation to stop the unrelenting suffering in Palestine. I will continue to push the Government to find its moral compass and step up its support for Gaza.

You can read the transcript of the debate here, and watch my intervention here.

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