Israel blocks Gaza strip further: United Nations

Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 21:22

United Nations: Israel has tightened its
blockade of the Gaza strip making it more difficult for
humanitarian supplies to reach the Palestinians, the UN has
said.

"In the Gaza Strip, the ability to bring essential
commodities was further reduced this month (January)," said
the report of the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs.
"In January, a total of 2,062 truckloads of goods
entered Gaza, a 21 per cent decline compared to the number of
truckloads that entered in December 2009 (2,597)," it stated.

The UN noted that "the continuing closure of the
Gaza Strip is undermining the functioning of the health care
system and causing on-going deterioration in the social,
economic and environmental determinants of health."

The report further finds that January registered one
of the largest number of Palestinians fatalities in Gaza since
the end of the "Cast Lead" offensive.

Operation Cast Lead was a military offensive carried
out by the Israeli Defence Forces on the Gaza strop between
December 2008 to January 2009, which claimed 1400 Palestinians
lives as well as 13 Israelis.
Seven of this month?s eight deaths, including a 15
year-old boy, were caused by three Israeli air-strikes on one
of the tunnels operating under Gaza?s border with Egypt.

The tunnels are used by the Gazans to smuggle massive
amount of goods from animals, electronic equipment to
cigarettes and chocolates.

The Israelis say that the scores of tunnels also
facilitate the movement of rockets that Hamas are used to
attack them.

The report also finds a significant increase in
rocket and mortar fire by Palestinian armed groups towards
southern Israel, which resulted in no injuries or damage.

The report states that the Israeli government is
making it difficult for relief workers to reach Palestinians
living inside Israel, which could lead to the West Bank being
cut off East Jerusalem.

"Recent measures adopted by the Israeli authorities
significantly reduce the ability of humanitarian agencies to
provide assistance to the population of, or operate from, East
Jerusalem, and may contribute to its further isolation from
the rest of the West Bank," it said.

The report was issued before the monthly meeting of
the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010 - 21:22

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