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Israel has not Heeded Call to Allow Aid into Gaza

Ban Regrets that Israel has not Heeded his Call to Allow Humanitarian Aid into Gaza

21 November 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced regret that Israel has not yet heeded his call to urgently permit the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population of Gaza.

A statement issued by his spokesperson said Mr. Ban, who phoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday to urge him to facilitate the freer movement of urgently needed humanitarian supplies and of United Nations personnel into Gaza, continued to express his concern at the situation following Israel’s closure of crossing points.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his condemnation of rocket and other attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli civilian targets,” the statement added. “He calls for an end to such attacks and urges full respect by all parties for the calm that has been in effect since 19 June 2008,” it added, referring to the truce on Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli assaults.

Mr. Ban has been briefed on the humanitarian situation in Gaza by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, it said, and supports the statement just released by his office calling on all parties to refrain from violence and allow the immediate and sustained reopening of border crossings.

“Measures which increase the hardship and suffering of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip as a whole are unacceptable and must cease immediately,” Mr. Holmes said.

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Mr. Holmes – who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs – noted that the Secretary-General had repeatedly condemned rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilian targets, but he also expressed particular concern that the human dignity and well-being of the civilians in Gaza, over half of whom are children, do not appear to be a major issue for the parties to the conflict.

ENDS

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