U.N.: Gaza Strip closure is ”unacceptable”
The U.N. humanitarian chief called on Israel on Friday to end what it called the "unacceptable" closure of border crossings with Gaza Strip. "Measures which increase the hardship and suffering of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip as a whole are unacceptable and must cease immediately," U.N. Undersecretary-General John Holmes said in a statement, cited by Reuters.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert by telephone on Tuesday that he was deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in the Strip and asked him to permit U.N. aid workers into the territory. In a separate statement, the U.N. press office said Ban "underscored the importance of having Israel urgently permit the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza, and regrets that his calls have not yet been heeded."
Ban also reiterated "his condemnation of rocket and other attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli civilian targets."
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said it would be forced after Thursday to suspend cash assistance to 98,000 poor Gazans because of a shortage of currency in the territory. "The population endures daily electricity blackouts and shortages of cooking gas, fresh food and water," Holmes' U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in the statement.
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