UK Government could ‘flood Gaza with far more aid’ under proposed ceasefire deal

The UK Government could “flood Gaza with far more aid” if Hamas accepts a US-backed ceasefire deal, the Prime Minister has said.

Rishi Sunak told broadcasters the three-phase plan to end fighting in Gaza is “welcome news”.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron also backed the plan which he claimed could bring an end to the conflict almost eight months after it began, with US President Joe Biden claiming Hamas is “no longer capable” of carrying out another large-scale attack on Israel.

On the campaign trail in Redcar, Mr Sunak said: “I hope Hamas take this opportunity to conclude the deal that’s on the table, which will ensure that the hostages can be released and be back with their families, that we can flood Gaza with far more aid than we’ve been getting in.”

General Election campaign 2024
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was questioned about the ceasefire proposal while campaigning during the General Election in the North East (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Sunak said a pause in fighting – the first phase of the deal – should become a “sustainable and lasting peace, which is what we all want to see”.

The Israeli proposal features three phases, starting with a six-week “full and complete ceasefire”.

The Israeli government would withdraw its forces from populated areas of Gaza, the AP news agency reported yesterday, and Hamas would release a number of hostages in exchange for the release of some Palestinian prisoners.

Humanitarian assistance would surge during the first phase, with 600 trucks allowed into Gaza each day.

In the second phase, Hamas would release all remaining living hostages, and Israel would withdraw its forces from other areas of Gaza.

“And as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, the temporary ceasefire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposals, ‘the cessation of hostilities permanently’,” Mr Biden said.

In the third phase, parties would launch a rebuilding programme in Gaza.

Israel transmitted its proposal to Hamas on Thursday, AP reported.

Mr Biden described the decision to accept or refuse the plan as “a truly decisive moment”.

In a video statement posted on X, Lord Cameron said: “It’s absolutely vital that we use the stop in the fighting to build a sustainable permanent ceasefire and a political solution to this long-running problem. And that is possible if everyone plays their part.

“Clearly, a number of conditions are going to have to be fulfilled. It’s clear that Gaza cannot be ruled by Hamas and that Israel needs guarantees about security. But it’s also clear we need to support the Palestinian Authority and set out the parameters of what a Palestinian state would look like.”

He concluded: “All of us have to seize this opportunity and stop the killing and bring this conflict to an end.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that “the war will not end until all of its goals are achieved, including the return of all our abductees and the elimination of Hamas’s military and governmental capabilities”.

Previous ceasefire talks ground to a halt at the beginning of the month after a major push by the US and other mediators to secure a deal, in the hopes of averting a planned Israeli invasion of the southern city of Rafah.

On the campaign trail this week, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the scenes in Rafah as “just horrifying”.

At Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, he said: “This is our message: that ceasefire needs to be in place, it needs to be in place straight away, and it needs to provide the space for hostages to come out… But also aid needs to get in – desperately needed aid.”

Sir Keir added: “In the end, this is only going to be resolved through a political process. That is going to require leadership from countries, including from ours if we are privileged enough to come in to serve, to create that space and dialogue as we go forward.

“It will require the recognition of Palestine as a viable state as part of the process, alongside a safe and secure Israel.”