The Popular Committee against the Israeli Siege on Gaza said on Friday that handing over control of the Gaza border crossings to the Palestinian Authority removes the Israeli pretext for maintaining its siege on the territory, Anadolu has reported.
"It is obligatory on Israel to lift its siege and restrictions on the crossings," said the Committee, "and to ease the movement of goods and people and cancel the list of goods banned from entering Gaza."
According to the group's statement, 80 per cent of the factories in the Gaza Strip have either stopped production or implemented severe cuts due to the siege. Unemployment now stands at 50 per cent and 80 per cent of the population are in poverty. "These are scary statistics," it said.
The head of the Committee is independent Palestinian MP Jamal Al-Khodari, who described the 10-year siege on Gaza as "illegal and amounting to collective punishment." He called for a Palestinian campaign to get the international community to take up its role in obliging the Israeli occupation to lift the siege on the enclave.
The Israeli occupation authorities closed the Gaza border crossings in the wake of the Hamas victory in the 2006 Palestinian elections and the ousting of Fatah from the territory a year later. Last month, Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement brokered by Egypt, and handed over the crossings on 1 November to the Ramallah-based PA as part of the deal.