Richard raises Gaza situation in Commons


Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield) (Lab): May I tell my hon. Friend that last month I discussed with businessmen in the north of Gaza their plans just to export like businessmen in any other part of the world, but that their ability to do so is being strangled by the Israelis’ continuing blockade of the Karni crossing? The blockade does not affect the firing of rockets from Gaza, but does collectively punish the innocent people of Gaza. What are the Government doing to ensure that the excuses are put on one side and that the Karni crossing is opened as it should be?

Dr. Howells: I assure my hon. Friend that, along with my right hon. Friends, I have been pressing the Israeli Government to open the Karni crossing. He is quite right and has great experience of the issue. It is interesting to hear that he has held discussions about the issue in northern Gaza, because it is one of the most crucial issues. I cannot for the life of me understand how Israel believes it can have an economic basket case on its border, because there is no more potent way of generating violence and opposition to the idea of a two-state solution than strangling the economy of one’s neighbour.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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