UNRWA says Israeli blockade continues to cause suffering to Palestinians


The United Nations agency assisting Palestinian Refugees UNRWA says the Israeli government is blocking its efforts to import construction materials necessary to rebuild schools and homes in the Gaza strip.

UNRWA says the quality of life among Palestinians living in Gaza continues to deteriorate as a result of the Israeli economic blockade on Gaza. UN Radio's Patrick Maigua reports from Geneva.

According to UNRWA's Director of Operations in Gaza John Ging, Israel was of the view that construction materials such as cement and steel bars imported into Gaza may be hijacked by militant groups and used to assemble weapons. Mr Ging however says the reasoning given by Israel was baseless. Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, Mr Ging said people in Gaza were living in unbearable conditions. He said the blockade, which amounts to collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza, has prompted the collapse of the private sector, and created unprecedented unemployment, poverty and food insecurity.

We have a population in Gaza in the vast majority who are descent civilized who are stoically resilient. They want nothing more than what we want, which is a way out of this and back on to a positive and productive path, and yet we are not helping them. And the debate that goes on is if you let the cement in to the UN it might be taken by somebody else to build a bunker, when the truth of the matter is that our operation has proven itself in terms of its integrity in the tens of thousands of tonnes of aid that is coming in terms of food and all other supplies and we are fully accountable for that. There are drones that are up in the sky watching and taking photographs of everything that's going on.

In 2010, UNRWA is seeking to raise over 249 million dollars to provide humanitarian support to Palestinians in Gaza. Patrick Maigua UN Radio Geneva.