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UK MP shocked by scale of Israel’s Gaza genocide after returning from Sinai

February 22, 2024 at 2:56 pm

Sarah Champion MP, chair of the International Development Committee [Wikipedia]

“Nothing that has been reported braces you for the true scale of the horror in Gaza. We’re simply not getting accurate information about the levels of destruction and brutality,” said Sarah Champion MP, chair of the International Development Committee, upon returning from a visit to Al-Arish in the Sinai desert, Egypt.

The delegation of British MPs was coordinated by the Egyptian Red Crescent. Al-Arish is now operating as the logistics hub for all aid – including from the UK – destined for the tightly controlled Rafah crossing into the besieged Gaza enclave. Some 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah after fleeing Israel’s deadly assault on the Strip. It previously housed less than 300,000 Palestinians.

Many of the Palestinians sheltering in Rafah have been internally displaced multiple times after following Israeli instructions to move to successive “safe areas”. Rafah has faced repeated aerial bombardment, causing more casualties and destroying infrastructure critical for food, water and medical aid.

The committee heard widespread concerns that Israel intends to continue its offensive in Rafah, Gaza’s last designated “safe zone”. Leaflets giving civilians two weeks’ notice to evacuate have already been dropped. There is global condemnation of the impending ground attack on Rafah and growing concerns that an Israeli onslaught against sheltering Palestinian will drive them into the Sinai.

Speaking after the visit, Champion said aid workers questioned why international law on protecting civilians, humanitarians and medics was not being followed or upheld. They expressed fear that without stabilisation, remaining UN support may withdraw, abandoning Palestinians.

Read: Israel committed genocide in Rafah, says Cuban president

After commenting on the devastating scale and horror of Israel’s attack on Gaza, Champion described the true extent of the “savagery” of the actions of the apartheid state. “Listening to seasoned humanitarians tell us that what they’ve witnessed in Gaza makes it the worse [sic] disaster they’ve ever seen really brought home the savagery befalling civilians,” said Champion. “Aid workers repeatedly questioned why international law wasn’t being followed or upheld in relation to civilians, humanitarians and medics.”

Champion expressed her “fear that unless something happens to stabilise the situation, the remaining UN support will withdraw leaving Palestinians utterly alone.” The MP went on to stress the need for an immediate ceasefire. “Politicians around the world need to demand an immediate end to the violence, full access for aid and a long term strategy to rebuild Gaza; both its infrastructure and its society,” said Champion.

In response to the committee’s questions, the foreign secretary summarised UK operations to alleviate Gaza’s medical emergency. His first priority is for Israel to “participate in and respect” the UN system for ensuring safe humanitarian access. He also outlined the UK’s position on achieving a sustainable, permanent ceasefire, including a political pathway to a two-state solution.