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UK rules out airdropping aid into Gaza, saying it prefers maritime routes

January 8, 2024 at 5:53 pm

People are seen on a sidewalk in a makeshift tent camp where Palestinians live under difficult conditions to try to protect themselves from the Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on January 5, 2024 [Abed Zagout – Anadolu Agency]

British Defence Minister, James Heappey, said his government has no plans of airdropping humanitarian aid to Gaza, calling such a move a “very imprecise way of doing business”, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a parliamentary question on Monday, Heappey was reminded that Jordan successfully delivered medical aid by air last week and whether the UK could consider the same approach for food and medical supplies.

Heappey said: “Our preference is to seek maritime routes.”

When asked if aid could be delivered directly from ship to shore, meaning directly into the Gaza Strip, Heappey said such a move is not easy either.

“The Defence Secretary has been in the lead internationally on exactly such an initiative. … There are indeed ideas to do exactly that, but they obviously need to be agreed with all parties before that could happen.”

The Minister confirmed that over 150 tons of humanitarian aid delivered to Egypt by the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is waiting to be transferred into Gaza.

READ: France, Jordan air forces drop medical aid to Gaza – Elysee

“The first maritime delivery of UK aid arrived in Egypt at New Year. Distribution of the aid has been impeded by challenges around its movement into Gaza. FCDO colleagues continue to work with the UN, Israel and Egypt to allow greater volumes of aid to be delivered.”

Britain has been calling on Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza but also refrains from calling for a ceasefire.

“More must be done to get humanitarian aid into Gaza – Israel must allow significantly more supplies in to reduce the risk of hunger and disease,” Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, recently wrote on his X account.

Due to the Israeli onslaught, most of the enclave’s population of more than 2.2 million remains under siege and bombardment, displaced, and short of food and basic necessities.

Israel has launched air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, on 7 October.

At least 23,084 Palestinians have since been killed and 58,926 others injured, according to Gaza’s health authorities, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

READ: Jordanian army airdrops humanitarian aid for Palestinians trapped in Gaza church