Saturday, April 04, 2009

UN to Israel: Ease 'devastating' Gaza blockade

The United Nations have called on Israel to stop blockading the Gaza Strip and have called her actions "devastating" for the people of Palestine.

"It's wholly and totally inadequate," John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, said about the amount of goods Israel permits into the territory, where some 1.5 million Palestinians live.

"It's having a very devastating impact on the physical circumstances and also the mindset of people on the ground," he said.

Israel says it has opened Gaza's border to larger amounts of food and medicine since its December-January offensive against Hamas militants who control the Palestinian enclave and were firing rockets against Israeli towns.

The war destroyed some 5,000 homes and, according to figures from a Palestinian rights group, killed over 1,400 people.

Israel has disputed
Palestinian claims that most of the people killed in the recent offensive in Gaza were civilians, stating that the vast majority of the dead were in fact Hamas militants. Thirteen Israelis were also killed in the hostilities. Around 80 percent of Palestinians are reliant on aid.

Ging said access to goods was still a severe problem.

"We need access," he said. "It's the number one issue. It's the number two issue. It's the number three issue, and so on. Until we get it, there's nothing as important as solving the access issue."
Israel's behaviour towards the people of Gaza has been utterly inhumane, in effect, starving them.

Such behaviour was deemed acceptable under the administration of George Bush, who simply backed any action which Israel took, but one can only hope that the Obama administration will be much harder on the Israelis and force them to stop these acts of barbarism against a civilian population who have committed no crime.

Obama, as we witnessed yesterday in Strasbourg, has the vast majority of the world behind him.

I really hope he puts the full weight of his office behind stopping Israel's actions against the people of Gaza. The United Nations have been screaming about this for months now. It's time for Hillary to speak out and demand that the Israelis desist from their policy of starving the people of Gaza.

I really do wonder at our capacity to watch such horror and not to react or be moved by it. How long must these people suffer before the world will say, "Enough!"

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