UK minister urges Israel to share Gaza reconstruction

LONDON, Feb 6 (KUNA) — Israel should help to pay for the reconstruction of Gaza after its military campaign in the territory, Britains Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown said Friday.
Describing the need to get humanitarian aid into Gaza as a “priority”, he called on the international community to contribute to rebuilding efforts.

The British Government has pledged 27 million pounds to address urgent humanitarian needs, the Minister said. He welcomed a one billion dollar contribution from Saudi Arabia. “It’s important that a number of countries, including Israel, share the burden of reconstruction in Gaza,” he added.

Support TwoCircles

Around 1,300 Gazans were killed during Israel’s three-week offensive which ended on January 18, and around a third of those were civilians, while 13 Israelis, including 10 soldiers, were also killed. There was also widespread destruction of buildings and infrastructure.

Opening a brief debate in the House of Lords, Lord Malloch-Brown said the flow of aid into the territory must be “unhindered”.

More trucks needed to be allowed over the border, he went on, and a variety of aid including construction materials was needed.

Lord Malloch-Brown also said it was “imperative” that the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was “permanent and robust”.

This depended on the easing of border restrictions and an end to the smuggling of arms into Gaza, he argued.

For the main opposition Conservatives, Lord Howell described the situation in Gaza as “hideous” and an “appalling tragedy”.
Humanitarian aid was needed on a “truly massive scale”, he said, arguing that the international community needed to learn lessons from the conflict, particularly on how to protect civilians.