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UNRWA wants full blockade lift

June 21, 2010 21:06

Quartet welcomes blockade ease, says Gaza situation "unsustainable."

UNRWA in gaza 248 88

UNRWA in gaza 248 88. (photo credit:AP [file])

Only a complete lift of the Gaza blockade will satisfy UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees said to Reuters on Monday.

"We need to have the blockade fully lifted," said spokesman Christopher Gunness of UNRWA, "the Israeli strategy is to make the international community talk about a bag of cement here, a project there. We need full unfettered access through all the crossings."

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Gunness expressed concern that Israel's new Gaza blockade policy would not be effective, and would continue to limit Gaza's ability to develop on its own.

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"The list of restricted goods is a moving target. We are never told this is banned and that is banned," he said to Reuters. "Israel's blockade became a blockade against the UN"

Quartet: Gaza situation

The Quartet of Mideast peacemakers welcomed Israel's pledge to immediately ease the blockade of goods into Hamas-ruled Gaza, but the groups says the situation remains "unsustainable" and a long-term solution is urgently needed.

A statement released by the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations expresses support for Israel's "legitimate security concerns" while calling for the resumption of long-stalled peace talks.

Proximity talks should lead to direct negotiations without preconditions and "a settlement, negotiated between the parties within 24 months," the Quartet said.

The Quartet supports a two-nation solution with Israelis and Palestinians living peacefully side by side.

Netanyahu: Our gov't’s policy towards Gaza is clear

The security cabinet on Sunday lifted nearly three years of restrictions on civilian goods allowed into the Gaza Strip, in the hope – according to senior diplomatic sources – that Israel would now have international legitimacy for the more important naval blockade, aimed at keeping out heavy weapons.

“Our government’s policy towards Gaza is clear,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a meeting with Quartet envoy Tony Blair soon after the security cabinet’s decision.

“Israel seeks to keep out of Gaza weapons and war-supporting materiel that Hamas uses to prepare and carry out terror and rocket attacks against Israel and its civilians. All other goods will be allowed into Gaza.”

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