" Gunness claimed that Israel has legitimate security concerns, but that collective punishment of the 1.8 million Palestinians packed into Gaza had been ineffective."
Gaza, Aug 10 - A seven-year blockade on the Gaza Strip must end to enable reconstruction and a political solution must be found to resolve the conflict, a UN official said Saturday.

Huge swathes of Gaza have been levelled. We cannot rebuild it with our hands tied behind our backs, Mena news agency quoted the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness as saying.

The blockade must end. We are beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. All those directly and indirectly responsible for the carnage and destruction must engage, Gunness added.

At least 65,000 people have seen their homes destroyed in a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas and a man-made homelessness crisis on an epic scale is unfolding, Gunness warned.

This is an urgent priority. Without it people simply cannot go home. Rubble removal is also an important aspect of this for which we are planning to use local workers to boost the local economy, he said.

Gunness claimed that Israel has legitimate security concerns, but that collective punishment of the 1.8 million Palestinians packed into Gaza had been ineffective.

It is time for Israel to enable, not disable. It is time for the world to recognise the blindingly obvious -- that the Gaza conflict requires a political solution, he explained.


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