Middle East Minister marks anniversary of Gaza ceasefire

Israeli apartment building which took a direct hit from Hamas rocket during Operation Pillar of Defence

Israeli apartment building which took a direct hit from Hamas rocket during Operation Pillar of Defence

Middle East Minister Hugh Robertson has called on Israel and Hamas to respect their 12-month ceasefire and for Hamas put an end to “militant activities, including rocket fire”.

Marking the anniversary of the end of the last Gaza conflict and Israel's Pillar of Defence operation, Mr Robertson also criticised the Hamas regime for “provocations such as the recent tunnels constructed into Israel”.

The Foreign Office minister, who travelled to Israel and the West Bank earlier this month, highlighted the economic situation in Gaza and said it was “profoundly disappointing the living conditions for the 1.7 million civilians inside Gaza have, if anything, deteriorated.

“Severe restrictions on the import and export of goods and passenger traffic are triggering yet higher levels of unemployment and poverty and Gaza is without power for 16 hours a day.

“The needs and rights of ordinary Palestinians in Gaza must be protected as must the legitimate security concerns of Israel and Egypt,” Mr Robertson said.

His remarks came as Qatar announced it will grant $150 million in debt relief for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said in September that he needed to raise $500 million by the end of the year in order to pay Authority employees and maintain the functioning of his government.

Last updated: 11:46am, November 28 2013