British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps is set to embark on a visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank with the primary objective of facilitating expedited humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza. His discussions with Israeli and Palestinian leaders will focus on devising direct aid delivery routes, including potential sea-based options, to ensure swift assistance to the region, as reported by CNN.
Shapps aims to explore the quickest and most direct transportation routes, encompassing land, sea, and air options. Currently, four Royal Air Force flights have successfully transported over 74 metric tons of aid to Palestinians, landing in Egypt. During his visit, Shapps will also address the progress on recovering hostages, including British individuals captured during the October 7 attack by Hamas.
The upcoming opening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza holds significance, allowing foreign nationals and dual citizens, including US, Romanian, UK, Ukrainian, and Kazakh citizens, along with 13 United Nations personnel, to exit Gaza. Rafah, not under Israeli control, has served as a crucial passage for aid and escaping individuals since the conflict between Israel and Hamas in October.
Multiple UN agencies have issued warnings about the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. Israel has approved a limited increase in fuel supply to prevent a collapse in basic services. The World Health Organization reports Gaza’s health system is on the brink of collapse, while the World Food Programme highlights the looming humanitarian crisis, emphasizing widespread hunger in Gaza.