Hamas, PA demand complete halt to closure

Dismiss Israel’s decision to ease blockade as insignificant.

June 18, 2010 05:18
1 minute read.
A Jordanian driver checks trucks loaded with human

aid into gaza 190.114. (photo credit: AP)

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority on Thursday dismissed Israel’s decision to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip as insignificant and condemned it as a public relations ploy.

Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the decision was “insufficient” and called for the reopening of all the border crossings into the Gaza Strip.

“The unjust Israeli siege on our people in the Gaza Strip must end,” Hammad said. “If Israel indeed wants to change its policy, it must halt all its unilateral actions, especially regarding settlement construction and the siege on the Gaza Strip.”

Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat also dismissed the Israeli decision and called for the complete lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Erekat claimed that the blockade was in violation of international law, adding that it was one of the “ugliest forms of collective punishment against 1.5 million Palestinians.”

“The talk about easing the restrictions is nothing but a public relations ploy on the part of the Israeli government,” he said. “Out of 7,000 goods that the residents of the Gaza Strip need, Israel allows only 81 in. The international community must force Israel to completely lift the blockade.”

In Gaza City, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Israel’s decision to allow more goods into the Gaza Strip was designed to “beautify” the blockade and mislead public opinion.

The Palestinians, he said, “are not asking for additional goods to be allowed into the Gaza Strip. Rather, they are demanding the complete lifting of the blockade and the reopening of all the border crossings, as well as freedom of movement for all people.”

Hamas, he added, considered the Israeli decision worthless and called on the international community to work toward lifting the blockade completely.

Muhammad Wada, Secretary-General of the Hamas government, dismissed the Israeli move as an attempt to “bypass” internal pressure on Israel to lift the blockade.

He said that the region would remain in a state of “stress” and “instability” as long as the blockade on the Gaza Strip continued.

The Hamas official also called for reopening the safe passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to allow Palestinians to travel freely.

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