- Published on Friday, 15 June 2012 11:58
The Chairman of Businessmen's Association in the Gaza Strip, Ali al Hayek, praised the call of more than 50 international organizations, the UNRWA at their head, to lift the six-year-long Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.
More than 50 NGOs and United Nations agencies, including UNRWA, at a conference held in Gaza on the fifth anniversary of the tightening of the blockade, stressing that the situation required urgent intervention and pressure on Israel to lift the siege, stressing the devastating effects of the continued blockage.
"For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law. More than half of these people are children," said a statement signed by Oxfam, Amnesty International, Medecins du Monde, Save the Children, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and others. "The government of Israel is facing mounting international criticism for the Gaza blockade," said the statement, which was timed to mark the fifth anniversary of the tightening of the blockade reports the English website of Dubai-based news network Al Arabiya.
Maxwell Gaylard, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, told reporters in Gaza that "we are calling for the blockade to be lifted," and for an end to the "collective punishment of Gaza residents."
Filippo Grandi, commissioner general of UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, added: "What Gaza needs is real development but because of the blockade we have to concentrate on humanitarian work, that's a waste of money."
"The blockade is also counterproductive because it does not bring the security it is purported to bring."
Hayek used the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the tightening the blockage on Gaza to call for the collaboration of the divided Fatah and Hamas and the solidarity of Arab countries in facing the siege.