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Former British Foreign Secretary Urges Israel to Lift Gaza Blockade

  • Tom Rivers

Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband strongly urged Israel Sunday to lift its sea blockade of Gaza. Miliband, who is the current favorite to head Britain's recently defeated Labor Party, was interviewed on British television.

Israel's three-year blockade of Gaza is counterproductive to all parties concerned. That is the view of leading British politician David Miliband. "Resolution 1860, the U.N. resolution that brought the Gaza war to an end which I actually co-authored 18 months ago in New York, says very clearly that the arms trafficking into Gaza has to stop but the blockade has to stop and that is absolutely basic," he said.

Interviewed by the BBC, the former Foreign Secretary said the blockade has in effect marginalized Gaza. And he added, it has represented a stain on policy right across the Middle East for a very long time. "It has been a disaster for the people involved, obviously those many killed and injured, it has also been a disaster for Israel. I think there have been a series of deadly and self-defeating actions by successive Israeli governments in respect of Gaza. There cannot be a Palestinian state and therefore cannot be peace for Israel and rest of Middle East with Gaza isolated with people unable to get in basic commodities, unable to rebuild their lives," he said.

Miliband also expressed his frustration that the long stalled peace process has not moved forward. He wants to see more energy put back into the process. "What is corroding any confidence at all among Palestinians and Israelis that they are going to be able to find a way to live together is the absence of a serious political process to negotiate the terms of a Palestinian state. There are these so called proximity talks, that means they are not even sitting in the same room - the Palestinians and the Israelis, and unless that is jump started, if not by the parties then by outside parties, the Americans, the U.N. with E.U. support, then I am afraid this is not going to get resolved," he said.

The Israeli ambassador to the United States said on American television that his country will reject an international proposal to investigate the deadly raid on the Gaza flotilla that left nine dead on a Turkish ship.

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