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UN chief: $4m dispersed for energy-strapped Gaza

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres talks at a press conference at the Aleppo Elementary school run by UNRWA in Beit Lahia, Gaza on 30 August 2017 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday announced that $4 million would be dispersed to help UN agencies in the Gaza Strip deal with the enclave’s chronic electricity crisis.

Speaking at a school in Gaza City on the final day of his first Israel-Palestine tour, Guterres described the situation in Gaza as “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen”.

He also urged Israel and Egypt to lift their 10-year-long blockade of Gaza, which effectively bars access to the coastal enclave by air, land and sea.

Since March, the people of Gaza have been forced to get by on about four hours of electricity a day after the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority reduced electricity payments to Israel — which supplies a portion of Gaza’s energy needs.

Read: Gaza electricity crisis threatens clean water services

Speaking later at Jerusalem’s Museum of the Jewish People, Guterres reiterated that a “two-state solution” was the only viable means of establishing peace in the region.

He also criticized attempts to change “facts on the ground”, including Israeli settlement-building in the occupied West Bank and attacks on Israelis by Palestinians.

#GazaSiege

During his three-day trip to the region — his first since assuming the UN’s top post last year — Guterres met with both Israeli and Palestinian officials.

While in Israel, the UN chief heard repeated complaints about the world body, which Israel accuses of unfairly focusing on its human rights record.

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