UN official calls for ending Israeli blockade on Gaza

Gaza, April 16: A UN official Wednesday described keeping an Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for almost seven years as “a collective punishment”, Xinhua reported.

The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Pierre Krahenbuhl pledged to defend Gaza and work hard to end the blockade.

During his first visit to Gaza, Krahenbuhl said that all the UN and media reports cannot express the real suffering of the Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, emphasising that Gaza Strip’s population is being “punished collectively”.

He urged the world’s leaders to help the Palestinians end the Israeli blockade, which was imposed on Gaza soon after the Hamas Islamic Movement seized control of the enclave by force in 2007.

“It is clear that this amounts to a very extreme form and illegal collective punishment that will be also at the heart of all of the advocacy work that UNRWA carries out,” said Krahenbuhl.