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Haniyeh warns of 'repercussions' in Gaza as humanitarian situation deteriorates

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 2: Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh makes a speech during the 12th conference on Jerusalem entitled, "The Vanguards of Jerusalem hold its Sword," in Istanbul, Turkey on December 2, 2021. ( Ömer Ensar - Anadolu Agency )
Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul, Turkey on 2 December 2021 [Ömer Ensar/Anadolu Agency]

The head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, has discussed Israeli raids, arrests and settlements in the occupied West Bank, as well as the closure of the Gaza crossings, with the UN Middle East envoy, Tor Wennesland, Anadolu has reported. The pair spoke by telephone, said Hamas in a press release.

Following the closure of the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing in the north of the Gaza Strip) and the Karam Abu Salem crossing in the south to both people and goods for the second day in a row, Haniyeh apparently told the UN official that, "The occupation needs to stop its attacks on the Palestinian people; stop building and enlarging settlements and stop storming into Al-Aqsa Mosque." All of Israel's settlements and so-called settlement outposts are illegal under international law.

"These measures will restrict the Palestinian people [even more] and lead to a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," said the former Palestinian Authority prime minister. He condemned Israel's "systematic policy of perpetuating the siege of the Gaza Strip" and called on the UN "to play its role in stopping these measures and crimes."

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Haniyeh also called on the UN to assume its responsibility to deliver fuel and flour to the Palestinian people, especially the refugees. He warned of the repercussions of the high prices of these basic commodities as the humanitarian conditions in the occupied territory continue to deteriorate.

More than two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip live in what have been described as "unliveable" conditions as a result of Israel's 15-year blockade. The effects of the blockade have been exacerbated by rises in food and resulting from the global crisis following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In conclusion, the Hamas leader rejected "Israeli threats" against the Palestinians in Gaza. He was referring to a comment by Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Israel Army Radio on Wednesday. "If we cannot return to normal life in the Gaza Strip," said the former chief of staff, "then there will be no normal situation inside Gaza either."

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