UK's Grant Shapps to discuss more aid for Gaza in Middle East visit

Defence Minister will also hold talks on efforts to prevent further escalation in the Middle East

UK Defence Minister Grant Shapps. Reuters
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British Defence Minister Grant Shapps is visiting the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel this week, where he plans to discuss accelerating "the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance into Gaza”.

During the visit, Mr Shapps will meet the Palestinian Authority's Interior Minister, Gen Ziad Hab Al Reeh, and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

Mr Shapps will also discuss how the UK can support the Palestinian Authority and efforts to prevent further escalation in the Middle East, the UK Ministry of Defence said.

Mr Shapps will talk about efforts to recover hostages – including a number of Britons – who were taken by Hamas during the October 7 raid on Israel.

“My visit this week is an important opportunity to discuss efforts to accelerate the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance into Gaza and efforts to secure the release of all remaining hostages,” he said.

“We are working to find the best way to get aid and support to those in desperate need in the quickest and most direct route. That includes options by land, sea and air.

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“We have deployed an extra 1,000 military personnel in the Middle East and our forces are there to support the humanitarian aid effort and help in stabilising the area.

“The events of October 7 horrified the world and I personally want to offer my support and condolences to Israel and its people.

“We fully support Israel’s right to defend itself, but it is important their fight against Hamas terrorists remains within international law.”

Mr Shapps will discuss the “urgent need for measures to improve security for Palestinians in the West Bank” with Gen Al Reeh, and “the current security situation and Israel’s next steps” with Mr Gallant, the ministry said.

He will visit Kfar Aza, a kibbutz in southern Israel where “Hamas fighters killed Israeli families in their homes” on October 7, the ministry said.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu in a call on Tuesday that more humanitarian aid is required in the Gaza Strip, as concerns grow about civilian deaths in the Israeli bombardment.

Updated: December 07, 2023, 6:57 AM