British Parliamentarians demand that Israel must not use starvation as a weapon of war as Gaza faces famine

29 March 2024, Good Friday

Over 115 British Parliamentarians from all political parties have written to the Foreign Secretary, Lord David Cameron on Palestinians facing and enduring famine and starvation in Gaza, demanding that Israel stops using starvation as a weapon of war, demanding the restoration of UK funds to UNRWA and on the UK government to put pressure on Israel as it continues to block full access of humanitarian aid into Gaza, in breach of international law. The letter demands that Israel should abide by the provisional measures of the International Court of Justice, and failure to do so should mean serious consequences for the UK-Israel relationship. 

A full list of signatories is available below, with some adding their names once the letter had been sent. Please be aware that Ministers and Shadow Ministers cannot sign such letters and that this is only available for backbenchers. Please do share this letter with your MP, and encourage them to add their name if it's not already there. 

Dear Foreign Secretary,  

We write as a group of cross-party MPs and Peers concerned about the dire situation facing Palestinians in Gaza and also to welcome your letter to Alicia Kearns MP, in which you recognise that aid is not reaching Gaza due to “arbitrary denials by the Israeli government”. We welcome that the UN security council voted to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, with the UK voting in favour. 

It is alarming that  Israel has delayed UK aid into Gaza by delaying permissions to cross the border and by preventing the necessary staff from obtaining visas. Further UK pressure on the Israeli government to let aid in, open the Port of Ashdod, and ‘turn the taps back on’ in Gaza is vital.  

Gaza is on the brink of famine, as made clear in the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report of 18 March 2024. The situation is already so dire that the definition of famine may have already been met in northern Gaza.  

To date, 27 children in Gaza and 3 adults have been starved or dehydrated to death, largely as a result of this Israeli policy. In northern Gaza, 70% of the population are already experiencing the gravest degree of food shortages, where people have resorted to eating bird seed, animal feed, and grass. Additionally, people have resorted to digging down into the soil to access water pipes for drinking and washing.  

On 13 February 2024, you stated that Israel would be in breach of international humanitarian law if it denied Gaza food and water, something that you have now confirmed to be the case. Given that Israel refuses to change its approach and that the humanitarian crisis shows no signs of easing, the UK needs to demonstrate that there will be diplomatic consequences for Israel if it continues to block full access for humanitarian aid and - as you stated - breach international law.    

We would therefore propose the Government to take the following steps:  

  1. Restore full funding to UNRWA, joining the European Union, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. This will allow UNRWA, the largest humanitarian agency in Gaza, to continue its lifesaving work which is more vital now than ever, particularly in light of the context of famine and starvation 
  2. Demand that Israel must not use starvation as a weapon of war, in line with international humanitarian law, something that the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has publicly called for. 
  3. Set a deadline within weeks, preferably days, for Israel to abide by the provisional measures of the International Court of Justice, ordered on 26 January, including facilitating full access for humanitarian aid, or else face serious consequences for the UK-Israel relationship. 


Parliamentarians who add their names once the letter had been sent are as follows: 

Baroness Katy Clark of Kilwinning

Rt Hon. Diane Abbott MP

Margaret Greenwood MP

Ian Mearns MP

Allan Dorans MP

Duncan Baker MP

Baroness Sheila Hollins

Sir Mark Hendrick MP


The full list of signatures is as follows:

Rt Hon. David Jones MP

Debbie Abrahams MP

Lord John Alderdice

Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP

Hannah Bardell MP

Paula Barker MP

Apsana Begum MP

Rt Hon. Baroness Tessa Blackstone

Olivia Blake MP

Paul Blomfield MP

Baroness Christine Blower 

Crispin Blunt MP

Deidre Brock MP

Alan Brown MP

Baroness Pauline Bryan of Partick

Richard Burgon MP

Baroness Lorely Burt of Solihull

Ian Byrne MP

Rt Hon. Liam Byrne MP

Amy Callaghan MP

Rt Hon. Alistair Carmichael MP

Lord Michael Cashman CBE

Sarah Champion MP

Bambos Charalambous MP

Joanna Cherry MP

Daisy Cooper MP

Rt Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP

Martyn Day MP

Marsha de Cordova MP

Rt Hon. Baroness Frances D’Souza CMG

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP

Flick Drummond MP

Lord Alf Dubs

Sarah Dyke MP

Colum Eastwood MP

Julie Elliott MP

Dr Stephen Farry MP

Marion Fellows MP

Richard Foord MP

Patricia Gibson MP

Baroness Shaista Gohir CBE

Patrick Grady MP

Rt Hon. Lord Peter Hain

Claire Hanna MP

Drew Hendry MP

Lord John Hendy KC

Wera Hobhouse MP

Kate Hollern MP

Rachel Hopkins MP

Imran Hussain MP

Lord Qurban Hussain

Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece

Christine Jardine MP

Kim Johnson MP

Afzal Khan MP

Ian Lavery MP

Chris Law MP

Clive Lewis MP

David Linden MP

Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett CBE

Caroline Lucas MP

Kenny MacAskill MP

Angus MacNeil MP

Andy McDonald MP

Stuart McDonald MP

Rt Hon. John McDonnell MP

Lord Mark McInnes of Kilwinning CBE

Anne McLaughlin MP

Rt Hon. Kit Malthouse MP

Rachael Maskell MP

Baroness Nosheena Mobarik CBE

Carol Monaghan MP

Layla Moran MP

Grahame Morris MP

Gavin Newlands MP

John Nicolson MP

Rt Hon. Baroness Lindsay Northover

Brendan O’Hara MP

Kate Osamor MP

Sarah Owen MP

Jess Phillips MP

Lord Jeremy Purvis of Tweed

Anum Qaisar MP

Yasmin Qureshi MP

Lord Rupert Redesdale

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP

Baroness Margaret Ritchie of Downpatrick

Naz Shah MP

Baroness Shaista Sheehan

Tommy Sheppard MP

Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon

Andy Slaughter MP

Rt Hon. Lord Nicholas Soames of Fletching

Chris Stephens MP

Zarah Sultana MP

Sam Tarry MP

Lord Robin Teverson

Alison Thewliss MP

Richard Thomson MP

Baroness Pola Uddin

Rt Hon. Valerie Vaz MP

Rt Hon. Lord Norman Warner

Rt Hon. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi

Lord Michael Watson of Invergowrie

Claudia Webbe MP

Dr Philippa Whitford MP

Nadia Whittome MP

Munira Wilson MP

Beth Winter MP

Lord Stewart Wood of Anfield 

Mohammad Yasin MP