UN official calls for Israel to lift siege of Gaza

9 Apr

James-Rowley-Press-Statement-Gaza

Middle East Monitor report, 8 April 2014.

UN’s Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Territories James Rowley (above) has called for Israel to lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and to reopen the closed legal crossings.

In a press conference held at the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza, Rowley said that although 2013 was the “quietest” year in recent history on the Gaza-Israeli front, the Palestinians in Gaza have witnessed their worst life situation in decades.

Rowley also called upon Egypt to open the Rafah Crossing for passengers, goods and necessary medical supplies. He suggested for the crossing to at least function as it did before July 2013.

He acknowledged Egypt’s security concerns, but at the same time said Egypt has to consider the humanitarian needs of the people living in Gaza. He added that the UN considers Egypt to bear some responsibility for the life of Gaza’s residents, but stressed that Israel bears full responsibility for the siege.

To help improve the life of the 1.9 million Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories (Gaza Strip), Rowley called upon the international community to give $390 million in aid.

Regarding the fishermen in Gaza, the UN official called for allowing them to sail freely in the sea and for the farmers to move freely on their farms adjacent or close to the Palestinian-Israeli border.

During the same press conference, a representative of the World Food Programme spoke about the dangerous situation of food security in the Strip. He noted that food insecurity in Gaza has increased from 48 per cent to 57 per cent.

He stressed that the international community must continue helping the residents of the Gaza Strip in order to meet the huge need for food.

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