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War on Gaza: UK committee head calls out Israeli spokesperson over aid blocking claims

British MP Alicia Kearns demands proof from Eylon Levy over claims UN was blocking aid entry to Gaza
Trucks carrying humanitarian aid slated for Gaza await clearance at the Kerem Shalom (Karm Abu Salem) border crossing on 14 March 2024 (Jack Guez/AFP)

The head of the UK's Foreign Affairs Committee called out an Israeli government spokesperson who claimed the UN, rather than Israel, was responsible for blocking aid deliveries into Gaza.

British member of parliament Alicia Kearns said on X (formerly Twitter) that Israel was failing to meet its legal obligation to help aid get into the besieged enclave, citing the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing.

"I've just returned from the aid staging location in Egypt, thousands of trucks are sat waiting to deliver aid," she wrote.

In response, Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy claimed that the crossing was "currently closed on Saturdays at the request of the UN because there is so much undistributed aid piling up on the other side".

Kearns asked for evidence from Levy, pointing out that his claim was the "opposite" of what she had been told by the UK government, Egyptian government and the UN.

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"They are clear the Israeli Govt requested no deliveries on a Saturday," she wrote.

Levy has yet to respond.

Brink of famine

The UN and other aid agencies have warned that Gaza is on the brink of famine due to Israel's prevention of the entry of life-saving aid from the enclave's land crossings. 

The ongoing Israeli assault and siege on Gaza has killed more than 31,000 people, including at least 25 from starvation, most of them children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

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Following an application from South Africa, the International Court of Justice in January delivered an interim ruling calling on Israel to take measures to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza.

The court did not order Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza, one of South Africa's key demands, and also did not immediately rule on whether Israel was committing genocide.

But it did rule on several provisional measures, voted for by the vast majority of the court's 17 judges, one of which required Israel to facilitate the delivery of aid.

Rights groups say that, so far, Israel has failed to adhere to the ruling.

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