UN official: Israel tightened Gaza blockade
Israeli restrictions put on movement and access damaged Palestinian economy
O’Brien stressed that “the full lifting of the closures is crucial to lasting progress in Gaza, in line with international law and Security Council Resolution 1860”
Senior United Nations official said that increasing Israeli “movement and access restrictions” on goods and people tightened Gaza blockade.
In statement, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien commented on the Humanitarian Situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt), describing the situation as miserable.
Overall, according to O’Brien, “nearly half of all Palestinians in the oPt – some 2.3 million out of a total population of 4.8 million – are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.”
About the Gaza Strip, O’Brien said: “Movement and access restrictions on goods and people…not only literally bind most people into an untenable reality in Gaza, but also impede economic activity.”
O’Brien noted how “over 1,500 traders and 160 business people in Gaza have lost travel permits in recent months, reversing a trend of increased permit approvals witnessed post- 2014.”
“Without the capacity to develop the local economy,” O’Brien said, “a sustainable solution to the humanitarian needs in Gaza will not be possible.”
However, he stressed that “the full lifting of the closures is crucial to lasting progress in Gaza, in line with international law and Security Council Resolution 1860.”
The UN official pointed out that “the operating environment for humanitarian action in Gaza has also deteriorated”, with “access for humanitarian staff in Gaza…increasingly problematic.”
The rate of permits denied to UN personnel based in Gaza rose from 3% in January to 41% in September.
(Source / 20.10.2016)