UK is pushing for humanitarian pause in Gaza amid Israeli bombardment, siege

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Britain is trying to arrange a temporary cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip so that more humanitarian aid can be delivered to the besieged Palestinians, its foreign secretary said on Monday.

Aid supplies to Gaza have been choked since Israel began bombarding the densely populated Palestinian enclave in response to an attack by the militant group Hamas on Oct. 7.

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"It’s trickling through but we need a significant increase in the volume," he added.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that humanitarian aid was trickling into Gaza but the volume needed to be increased significantly.

"We're working extensively with the Egyptians, with the Israelis, and others to try and have a humanitarian pause, temporary pause so that we can get that humanitarian aid to the people that need it," Cleverly told Reuters at the British Ambassador's residence in Abu Dhabi.

However, he stopped short of calling for a full ceasefire in the conflict.

Israel has so far rejected international calls, including by the United Nations, for a humanitarian pause to its bombardment of Gaza that has displaced one million people and killed more than 8,000, according to Palestinian health authorities.

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli raids and violence have killed more than 110 Palestinian.

Cleverly is due to meet with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan later on Monday.

Relief workers on Monday said the largest convoy of humanitarian aid to arrive in Gaza still fell far short of needs.

The besieged Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people don’t have access to clean, running water after Israel cut off water and electricity to the enclave.

If water does trickle from the tap, residents have said it’s so contaminated with sewage and seawater that it’s undrinkable.

Under these circumstances, some are forced to use the sea to bathe, wash clothes and clean their cookware.

On Sunday, 33 trucks carrying water, food and medicine entered the only border crossing from Egypt. Israel said it has opened two water lines in southern Gaza within the past week. The AP could not independently verify that either line was functioning.

Read more:

Israel expands military assault into northern Gaza ahead of UN emergency meeting

Israel blocking Gaza aid may constitute as a crime: ICC

UN says only 33 aid trucks entered Gaza on October 29

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