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Ynet: UN rights chief calls for end to Gaza blockade

‘Palestinians forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights for months,’ UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says

By Hanan Greenberg and AP

To view original article, published by Ynet on the 18th November, click here

The UN’s top human rights official has called on Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying it breaches humanitarian law.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in Geneva Tuesday that 1.5 million Palestinians “have been forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights for months” by the blockade.

She said that Israel should allow aid goods such as food, medicines and fuel into the Hamas-controlled territory and restore electricity and water supplies.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli mission in Geneva had no immediate comment.

Israel imposed a blockade of Gaza after the Islamic group Hamas violently seized control of the territory in June 2006. Israel tightened the sanctions because of rocket fire at Israeli towns.

On Saturday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to lift the blockade, saying “food and other life saving assistance is being denied to hundreds of thousands of people, and (emphasized) that measures which increase the hardship and suffering of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip as a whole are unacceptable and should cease immediately.”

A statement released by Ban’s office read: “The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at the deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation in Gaza and southern Israel, and at the potential for further suffering and violence. He calls on all parties to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law.”

Israeli security officials said the IDF will continue allowing 30 trucks carrying supplies to enter Gaza each day, a third of the amount permitted prior to the blockade. They said the matter will be reviewed should the security situation improve.

According to the officials, some 2.2 million liters (581 million gallons) of diesel fuel are being transferred to Gaza through the Nahal Oz terminal each week

This fuel is used solely for the purpose of electricity production at Gaza’s main power plant.