The UK House of Commons International Development Committee has called for dialogue with Hamas.
The US, UK and EU refuse to speak to Hamas.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said 52% of Gaza households are living in poverty, and unemployment there has topped 45%.
MPs on the cross-party International Development Committee said in a report on Gaza that the current truce between Hamas and Israel, agreed on June 19, ‘offers the international community an opportunity to begin a dialogue with Hamas’.
The aim of the talks should be to move the group towards accepting principles laid down by the international Quartet (the US, EU, UN and Russia) and to repairing the rift between it and Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party, it said.
The Middle East Quartet has said it will not talk to Hamas unless it recognises Israel’s right to exist, renounces violence and agrees to abide by agreements made by the Palestinian Authority.
The MPs say in their report: ‘It is arguable that if this National Unity Government had been given greater international support it could have provided a gateway for greater dialogue and negotiation and at the very least kept the Palestinians united.
‘Instead continued disagreements between the parties and the building-up of Fatah security forces with the assistance of donors led Hamas to take control of Gaza in June 2007.
‘There were reports of a controversial US-sponsored plot to oust Hamas from power . . .
‘The humanitarian situation in Gaza has been acute. Food, fuel and water have been in short supply and the public health system has been under severe pressure.
‘Israel has obligations to ensure the health and welfare of the Palestinian population, which it has not met.
‘We believe this situation was allowed to continue for too long and that the Quartet did not exert sufficient pressure on Israel to open the crossings.’
The report said that ‘without some kind of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah it is difficult to see how such an (peace) agreement will be accepted by the Palestinian people who elected a Hamas parliamentary majority in 2006.
‘The current truce between Israel and Hamas offers the international community an opportunity to begin a dialogue with Hamas with the objective of moving towards its acceptance of the Quartet’s three principles and a functional working relationship with Fatah . . .
‘We urge the UK Government to seize this opportunity.’
They add that the refusal to talk to Hamas, ‘has achieved very little in the last two years and has contributed to increasing tension between Hamas and Fatah . . .
‘However, it remains important to bring Hamas into dialogue and into the peace process.
‘The current truce between Israel and Hamas brokered by Egypt provides the opportunity to do that.
‘We urge the UK Government and the international community to seize this opportunity.’