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Ban Ki-Moon urges Israel to reconsider measure to limit fuel/electricity to Gaza

29 October 2007 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated his call for an end to rocket attacks against Israel while urging the country to reconsider the limitation of fuel and electricity supplies to residents of Gaza, pointing out that this is worsening the already serious humanitarian situation there.

“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for the cessation of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel and strongly condemns these actions. However he also believes strongly that punitive measures taken by Israel which harm the well-being of the entire population of the Gaza Strip are unacceptable,” a spokesperson for Mr. Ban said in a statement.

“The limitation of fuel and electricity supplies deepens the humanitarian distress of the 1.4 million residents of Gaza, as does the reduction of the supply of essential commodities and the tightening of restrictions on movement and access,” the spokesperson said, calling on Israel to reconsider its actions.

All concerned must “protect civilians and to meet their obligations under international law,” the statement noted.

Last week, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes also condemned ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel while voicing concern that Israel was threatening to cut off electricity and fuel supplies if they continued.

“It did not appear to be an appropriate response to those rocket attacks to punish the population of Gaza,” he said.

He called on Israel to lift its economic blockade on Gaza and relax its restrictions on humanitarian aid, in part to improve the chances of progress at Israeli-Palestinian talks scheduled to take place in the United States next month.

Given the conditions inside both Gaza and the West Bank, the population increasingly depends on outside aid to survive, he said.

“That is not a good situation for their livelihoods, their dignity and the possibility of their participating in any kind of peace process.”

Also last week, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council about the humanitarian situation that Palestinians face and the potential impact of further Israeli restrictions.

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