Aid must be allowed to reach Gaza – Jo

As one Bearsden resident returned injured from one of the boats attempting to deliver aid to Gaza this week, Jo called on the Foreign Secretary to ensure the aid reaches the people of Gaza.

Hasan Nowarah was aboard one of the boats, the MV Rachel Corrie, which was attacked by Israeli soldiers in international waters on Sunday night whilst attempting to deliver medical supplies and construction materials to the Gaza Strip. The Rachel Corrie was travelling separately from the flotilla and is still waiting in the Mediterranean to reach Gaza.

Mr Nowarah, who is chairman of the Justice for Palestine Centre in Glasgow, was the first British activist to be sent home, because he had sustained an injury where he had been hit on the leg by an Israeli soldier. He is now in hospital in Glasgow, where it has been confirmed that his leg has been broken in several places.

In the House of Commons yesterday, Jo Swinson called on Foreign Secretary William Hague to ensure that the vital aid carried on the MV Rachel Corrie is delivered to its intended recipients in Gaza.

Commenting, Jo said:

“The Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom flotilla is deeply shocking and has rightly received international condemnation. The blockade of Gaza, which has been in place for three years, is causing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza by punishing innocent people, and it is not helping to advance a political solution to the Middle East conflict. That this brutal attack occurred in international waters makes it all the more disturbing.

“I am relieved that Hasan Nowarah has arrived home safely, and my thoughts are with those who were not so lucky, and their families. The Foreign Secretary assured me that some of the aid carried on the flotilla has now been delivered, but it is vital now to ensure that the rest of it reaches the people of Gaza, where it is so badly needed.”

Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): My constituent Hasan Nowarah was injured when the flotilla came under attack, although he is now, thankfully, safely at home with his family. He was motivated by a desire to help people in the most dire need, but the 45 tonnes of medical equipment that he helped to collect is currently floating aboard the ship, the Rachel Corrie, in the Mediterranean. Will the Foreign Secretary use his diplomatic efforts to persuade the Israeli Government to let that vital medical aid be delivered to hospitals in Gaza?

Mr Hague: Yes, I very much take that point. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), has just undertaken, as we were listening to the hon. Lady’s question, to look into what is happening to that specific shipment. I believe that some of the aid on some of the ships involved is now arriving in Gaza, but we will look into the shipment that she mentions.

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