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Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Israel must stop punishing Gaza’s people,’ pleads UN commissioner

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By: Donald Macintyre

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk

The United Nations’ top humanitarian official in the Middle East yesterday issued an impassioned appeal for a new deal for Gaza to end the “collective punishment” of its 1.8 million inhabitants imposed by Israel’s seven-year blockade of the territory.

As Egyptian mediators prepared to renew efforts today to persuade Israel and Hamas to agree a durable peace deal to end more than a month of conflict, Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissoner General of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, warned: “You cannot just return to the pre-existing conditions under the blockade.”

The ending of the blockade is one of Hamas’s key demands in the Cairo peace talks. Yesterday, Hamas’s head of foreign affairs, Osama Hamdan, said on his official Facebook page that Israel’s position did not meet the aspirations of the Palestinians. And he warned: “Israel must accept the demands of the Palestinian people or face a long war.”

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