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Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:41PM
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos (file photo)

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos (file photo)

A senior UN humanitarian official has warned the Israeli regime over its five-year-plus illegal siege of the Gaza Strip, urging Tel Aviv to lift the destructive blockade immediately. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos said that the blockade has had a devastating impact on the lives of 1.6 million Palestinians living in the coastal sliver, the UN News Centre reported. “This amounts to a collective punishment of all those living in Gaza and is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law,” she stated, noting that more than 80 percent of the families residing in the enclave are dependent on humanitarian aid. The official, who also serves as the UN emergency relief coordinator, added “it is vital that the blockade be lifted immediately, so that essential services and infrastructure can be maintained.” Israel imposed the all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade in June 2007 after the democratically-elected Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas took over the administration of the territory. The siege has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the impoverished enclave, having turned the territory into the world’s largest open-air prison. MAB/MHB/HN