Human rights activist and journalist Lauren Booth has been trapped illegally in the Gaza strip as a result of a legal campaign calling for an end to the Israeli government blockade there, say Palestinian activists.
US Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's recent visit to Gaza brought her a deeper understanding of the humanitarian crisis that is impacting the 1.5 million Palestinians in the region.
A group of senior British development agencies, including Christian Aid and CAFOD, have said the humanitarian situation in Gaza is worse now than at any time since 1967 and have denounced Israel's "collective punishment" policy.
As US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice travels to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the wake of the chaos occasioned by Israel's intervention in Gaza, senior US church figures have written calling for urgent action.
Church and aid workers warn that the situation in Gaza is deteriorating as Israelis and Palestinians continue to face off, more than two weeks after Israel cut off the electric power supply after Palestinian missile attacks.
There are fears that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is set to worsen after a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court, supported by church and other groups, failed to stop the government from stepping up its blockade of the territory.
Tens of thousands of protestors, including demonstrators in five cities across the UK, joined an international day of action on Saturday 26 January in support of the 1.5 million people blockaded in Gaza by Israeli military action.
Christian Aid and other church groups say that the breach of the border between Gaza and Egypt demonstrates the desperation of a people held hostage to both a policy of collective punishment and an inadequate peace process.