UK sends Royal Navy ship to boost aid for Gaza and set up a new maritime corridor

UK sends Royal Navy ship to boost aid for Gaza and set up a new maritime corridor
The UK has announced that it will add a ship to Cyprus-Gaza air corridor to transfer humanitarian aid.
3 min read
An Open Arms vessel and a barge carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip are pictured off shore in Gaza City on April 1 [Getty]

A British Royal Navy ship will supply aid to Gaza as part of an international effort to help set up a new humanitarian maritime corridor in early May, the foreign office and ministry of defence said on Saturday.

The multinational effort, involving the United States, Cyprus and other partners, will develop a new temporary pier off the coast of Gaza, British foreign minister David Cameron said.

"The situation in Gaza is dire and the prospect of famine is real. We remain committed to getting aid to those who so desperately need it," Cameron said in a statement.

Cameron has also pledged 9.7 million pounds ($12.26 million) for aid equipment and logistical expertise to help set up the maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza, his office said.

The initiative will see aid pre-screened in Cyprus and delivered directly to Gaza, through the new US temporary pier being constructed off the coast or via Ashdod Port after Israel agreed to open it, the foreign ministry said.

British defence minister Grant Shapps said the new temporary pier on the coast of Gaza will host cargo ships to deliver aid by sea.

The government said British military teams had been embedded with planning teams in the US operational headquarters in Tampa, Florida, as well as in Cyprus for several weeks to develop the safest and most effective maritime route.

Last week, the killing of the seven aid workers, including three British nationals, in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, stirred global outrage and saw the dismissal of two Israeli military officers.

Britain said it would continue to call for "reform of deconfliction mechanisms", along with assurances that guarantee the safety and security of aid workers.

Meanwhile, UK rights groups have have written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with concerns that the decision to pull funding for UNRWA was based on information obtained by use of torture, The New Arab previously reported.

UK rights groups Freedom From Torture and Redress referenced a February report by UNRWA, which detailed testimonies of abuse and torture at the hands of Israeli authorities.

This included instances where Palestinian detainees were coerced into falsely stating that the agency has links to Hamas and that UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attacks.

Britain and 14 other countries paused about $450 million in funding following the allegation by Israel in January, throwing the agency's operations in the war-torn Gaza Strip into turmoil.

Many people in northern Gaza have perished from starvation as Israel blocks the delivery of desperately needed food aid.

Gaza’s health ministry on Saturday put the death toll at 33,137  from Israel’s nearly six-month war.