UN official calls for an end to Israeli restrictions on free movement of people and goods in the Gaza StripListen /
Israel has been urged to lift long-term restrictions, including the blockade of Gaza in place since 2007.
The call comes from UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley.
He says "the cumulative impact of Israel's restrictions, some of which have been in place for more than a decade, has devastated the livelihoods of families in Gaza, such as farmers and fishermen", adding "these restrictions affect the poorest the most; they impede development of a sustainable economy and increase dependency on aid".
Recent assessments indicate that 57% of people in Gaza do not have money to buy sufficient food and 80% of families receive some form of international aid.
Long-term restrictions on access to as much as 35% of Gaza's agricultural land and currently more than two-thirds of its fishing areas have resulted in estimated economic losses of over $76 million.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley also expressed concern that measures undertaken to enforce access restrictions on land and at sea continue to place Palestinian farmers, fishermen and other civilians at serious risk.
He highlighted the impact of the restrictions by leading humanitarian agencies and international representatives to meet with Palestinian fishermen and farmers to learn how they are affected and what can be done to address the challenges they face.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.