Thursday, July 15, 2010

Israel Chokes Gaza Despite Announced Easing

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Jul 15, 2010 (IPS) - Israel has received international praise for its decision to ease its crippling blockade on Gaza following the country's deadly assault on a humanitarian flotilla trying to bring desperately needed humanitarian aid to the coastal territory. But according to the UN and human rights organisations, the easing of the blockade is insufficient in meeting Gaza's needs.

"Even if the blockade is eased it remains illegal under international law as it is a collective form of punishment on a civilian population," Chris Gunness from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) told IPS.

"Eighty percent of Gaza's population is aid-dependent. Allowing more aid in is perpetuating this dependency and not addressing the issue of self- sufficiency or the root causes of the crisis," added Gunness.....

"Operation Cast Lead destroyed at least 60,000 homes and structures which need to be urgently repaired and rebuilt. The easing of the blockade is not addressing this adequately," Gunness told IPS.

One of the biggest humanitarian issues remains the continued restrictions on movement, including Gazans trying to leave for medical treatment, to continue their studies, or to visit family in the West Bank....."

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