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Ban Ki-Moon's envoy calls for full lifting of Gaza blockade

Robert Serry, the UN Secretary General's special envoy on the Middle East peace process, has reaffirmed the urgency of a complete lifting of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip in order to begin the process of reconstruction.

During a meeting at the headquarters of the UN in Gaza on Tuesday (13.07.2010) with a delegation from the network of civil organisations, Serry stated that although Israel's announcements that it would ease the blockade on Gaza were a beneficial and important step forward that may be seen as an opportunity to begin the process of reconstructing, it is not completely what is required. He stressed that the UN would continue to demand a complete lifting of the blockade in order to begin the process of reconstruction in full. Serry stressed the importance of the role to be played by civil society and its organisations in defending the rights of Gaza's citizens, alleviating their suffering and in the development of the local community. He also stressed the importance of strengthening coordination and cooperation between the organisations of Palestinian civil society and the UN agencies in the interest of the Palestinian citizens.


During the meeting, the network of civil organisations called on Serry to continue efforts by the UN to end the siege on the Gaza Strip, to completely open the border crossings in both directions particularly to the movement of individuals, raw and construction materials required for reconstruction and the transport of export products. It stressed that the remedy for the difficult humanitarian conditions within the Strip resulting from continuous Israeli aggression including the unjust blockade can be found through the complete lifting of the blockade; beginning the process of reconstruction and enabling the resumption of  factory operations as many factories have stopped working.

The network stressed that the West Bank, including Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, represent a political and geographic unit and that it rejected any Israeli measures designed to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, particularly those measures that prevent students from Gaza attending their universities in the West Bank. It demanded that the UN move toward putting additional pressure on Israel to enable fishermen to fish in Gaza's waters freely and in safety and similarly, for farmers to be allowed to freely access their lands in border regions. It went on to highlight the efforts being made by civil society organisations and others to end the internal division, achieve national reconciliation, defend public freedoms and provide protection of and respect for human rights.

The network appealed for the intervention of the Secretary General of the UN, Mr Ban Ki-moon, for the protection of the Libyan ship, Hope, which is expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip today, Wednesday, and to prevent any Israeli aggression against it. It also stressed the need for the Secretary General of the UN to continue his efforts to demand the formation of a credible international commission of inquiry to investigate Israel's crime against the Freedom Flotilla.

Source: Quds Press Service

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