Israel 'has a duty' to turn water and electricity supply back on in Gaza, top Tory MP tells LBC

12 October 2023, 18:51 | Updated: 12 October 2023, 22:41

Alicia Kearns told LBC Israel has a duty to turn back on the water supply in Gaza
Alicia Kearns told LBC Israel has a duty to turn back on the water supply in Gaza. Picture: LBC/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Israel has a "duty" to turn the water and electricity supply back on in Gaza after it was turned off following Hamas' attack, Alicia Kearns has told LBC.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Ms Kearns, who is Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, called on Israel to turn back on the water supply to Gaza.

The Tory MP told LBC’s Andrew Marr Israel “has a duty to make sure people can access medical aid and support” under international law.

She also told LBC that the Rafah crossing - the border between Egypt and the Gaza strip - has been unable to operate normally "because it was bombed by Israel”.

Egypt's foreign ministry confirmed today that the crossing is open, but operations on the Palestinian side had been "destroyed as a result of the repeated Israeli bombing, preventing it from operating normally".

Gaza's only power station has shut down following Israel's decision to cut off electricity, as well as the supply of food, fuel and water.

Doctors working in the besieged area have said hospital generators only have "a few days left".

If electricity runs out, vital life-saving equipment such as operating theatres and mechanical ventilators will not be able to function.

Alicia Kearns says Israel 'has a duty' to turn on the water and electricity for Gaza

It comes after the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Israel had a right to turn off the water and electricity supply to Gaza following the Hamas attack.

But, referencing Egypt’s willingness to help in providing aid into Gaza via the crossing, Ms Kearns called on the UK to play a part in it reopening.

“This is something the UK can do, we can work with our Israeli partners," Ms Kearns told LBC.

Read More: Bring them home: Six-month-old baby Ariel among missing in Israel after Hamas massacre

Read More: Britain sends warships to Eastern Mediterranean and will start surveillance flights over Israel amid Hamas war

“We’ve deployed ships to help them with the risk of transnational terror, and support from other terrorist groups around the world," she continued.

“But we can also be a friend and say ‘Let’s get the Rafah crossing open’ - because that’s also how we get British nationals out who are stuck in Gaza, particularly the doctors who will have been out there volunteering.

“We get the humanitarian aid in but no one else can switch back on water apart from the Israelis and they do have a duty to, I believe, under international humanitarian law, because they control the airspace of Gaza, they control the coastal access, and they have blockaded it."

Keir Starmer joins Nick Ferrari at Breakfast | Watch Again

Speaking to Nick Ferrari from the Labour Party conference on Wednesday, Sir Keir told LBC: “Hamas’ actions are terrorism and Israel has the right to defend herself.

“Israel has the right to do everything it can to get those hostages back safe and sound. Hamas bears responsibility,” he added.

He said the world has “obviously” witnessed terrorist acts carried out by Hamas.

He also said “Israel has the right” to withhold power and water from Palestinian civilians. “Obviously, everything should be done within international law," he added.

“I’d call on all responsible states to call this out for what it is in utterly condemning these actions from Hamas,” he added.