News / Middle East

UN Refugee Commissioner: Crisis in Gaza Bigger Than Humanitarian

Multimedia

Audio

The commissioner-general of the U.N. refugee agency says the crisis in the Gaza Strip is more than just a humanitarian situation.

Filipo Grandi said Wednesday in Lebanon that Gazans need to be able to import and export goods to boost the economy and give the people there a "normal life."  Grandi reiterated the U.N. position on the situation, which calls for Israel to lift the Gaza blockade.  

Israel has eased its land blockade of Gaza in response to international outrage triggered by its deadly commando raid on a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza three weeks ago.  

But Israel says the sea blockade will remain in force to prevent Hamas militants and supporters from smuggling weapons into Gaza.

Israel, the U.S. and some members of the international community consider Hamas a terrorist organization.

Correspondent Luis Ramirez discusses Israeli, Gazan reaction to easing of sanctions:

Two ships are planning to challenge the sea blockade.  The aid ship Julia plans to leave for Gaza from Lebanon within days, despite warnings from Israel that it will not let ships dock in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

A second, all-female ship, Mariam, named after the Virgin Mary, also is planning to make the voyage to Gaza, transporting some 50 women activists, including four U.S. nuns, as well as cancer medication and other humanitarian aid.

Meanwhile, the parents of an Israeli soldier being held captive by the Palestinian militant group Hamas say they fear that Israel's easing of the blockade will make it harder to negotiate their son's release.

Gilad Schalit's parents argued this week that the blockade is an important tool to pressure Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.  Hundreds of trucks carrying food and other supplies that had previously been blocked began rolling into the territory Tuesday.  

Schalit was abducted four years ago this Friday.  His parents and thousands of supporters are planning a days-long cross-country march next week to push the government to do more for their son.  

Schalit's father says he will camp outside the prime minister's residence after the march until his son is brought home.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid