Israel’s blockade of Gaza undermines economy, education and health situation: UN humanitarian chief

May 18, 2011

The blockade in Gaza has resulted in a “stifling of economic activity and a serious decline in education, healthcare and water and sanitation services,” UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said here on Tuesday after concluding a four-day visit to the occupied territories in Palestine and Israel.

“Consequently 1.1 million Gazans are dependent on food aid due to the blockade,” she said in a press release issued by UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “The civilians have been hit hardest by the impact of the policy of restrictions and have had to endure unnecessary humanitarian suffering.”

Amos was particularly touched by hearing Israelis and Palestinians talk about the constant fear and uncertainty facing the local community as a result of rocket attacks from Gaza. “They all want the same thing: to live normal lives in peace and security,” she said.

Amos “condemns the indiscriminate use of violence” of which she said it must stop.

During her visit, Amos met with Palestinian and Israeli officials as well as affected Palestinians and humanitarian organizations. She visited a number of East Jerusalem communities, where residents have been evicted from their homes to make way for Israeli settler communities, and where many face demolition of their houses and schools. She also visited communities in the so called Area C, which remains under Israeli military control and control over planning and zoning, and where many communities are isolated by the barrier.

The under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator called for “an end to the man-made and protracted humanitarian situation through a lifting of the blockade on Gaza.”

In June 2007 Israel imposed a naval blockade on Gaza and sealed its five border crossings with the territory. The devastating impact of the blockade on Gaza’s 1.5 million population, where food aid dependency has risen to 80 percent, has been defined by the UN as a humanitarian crisis.

Source: Xinhua

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