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Foreign Secretary Urged To Directly Intervene To Help Injured Children Out Of Gaza

More than 13,000 children have been killed in Gaza in the Israeli offensive, according to UNICEF (Alamy)

6 min read

Layla Moran, Parliament's only Palestinian MP, has written to Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron asking him to directly intervene to facilitate the urgent evacuation of two severely injured children from northern Gaza.

Teenage brother and sister, Rafiq and Rafif, were both severely injured when their house in Gaza was bombed on 29 January. 11 members of their family, including their mother and siblings, were killed. 14-year-old Rafif has had her foot amputated and Rafiq, 15, had his shoulder crushed and has lost his right leg below the knee, as well as all the flesh from his buttocks. Forced to sleep on his side for weeks, he has developed terrible bedsores as a result.

Israeli authorities have not allowed the children's father back into Gaza, as he was on a business trip before the Hamas attacks on Israel on 7 October, so Rafiq and Rafif have been left without any family in the basement of Al Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, the area under the heaviest bombardment.

The siblings featured in a Channel 4 News report from the hospital, where local journalists have been able to film inside. "Please get us out of here, because this place is no longer Gaza, it's no longer a land to live or breathe in," Rafif pleaded.

In the letter to the foreign secretary, seen by PoliticsHome, Lib Dem MP and foreign affairs spokesperson Moran asked Cameron to step in and personally speak to Israeli authorities about allowing the children to leave Gaza.

"These children are not safe. Rafif and Rafiq present no threat to Israeli forces. They are children who have just lost their mother. We need to get them out of northern Gaza and to safety urgently," Moran wrote.

"Every organisation that has been contacted for help has said that such a task is impossible. They believe that even an officially marked ambulance will be at risk of being bombed. If we are to have any hope of getting these children to safety, the British Government must step in.

"That is why I am asking you to speak to Israeli authorities to find a way to get them out of northern Gaza."

Moran urged the government to work closely with the children's caseworker, Hala Sabbah, and said she would be happy to facilitate a meeting between Sabbah and Cameron.

"There is no excuse for the death of any child in this conflict, and we must do our utmost to work with Israeli and Palestinian authorities to help as many children to safety as we possibly can," the letter continued.

"You have the power to help Rafif and Rafiq, please use it."

Moran told PoliticsHome that UK intervention was needed as there were "huge amounts of bureaucracy" needed to facilitate an evacuation with specialist ambulance transportation.

Despite Parliament entering recess for Easter next week, she said she would continue to push the matter with the Foreign Office.

"It's heartbreaking," she said. "We can't stop. Parliament stops, but this doesn’t stop.

“These poor children need specialist transportation. so it's making the case to [Cameron] that here is someone [Sabbah] who is dealing with these families quite directly – would the FCDO work with her to see if we can get these children out?”

The Foreign Office has been contacted for comment.

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