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NGOs call on Israel to lift Gaza blockade

JTA

June 14, 2012 | 1:50 pm

Filippo Grandi (right), commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Maxwell Gaylard, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, attend a news conference at the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City on June 14. Photo by REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot

Filippo Grandi (right), commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Maxwell Gaylard, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, attend a news conference at the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City on June 14. Photo by REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot

Some 50 nongovernmental organizations called on Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“For over five years in Gaza, more than 1.6 million people have been under blockade in violation of international law,” the groups said in a petition issued Thursday. “More than half of these people are children. We the undersigned say with one voice: ‘end the blockade now.’ “

Israel initiated the blockade five years ago when the terrorist Hamas organization took over the coastal strip, which is home to 1.6 million Palestinians.

Signatories to the petition Amnesty International, Oxfam and the World Health Organization, as well United Nations bodies such as UNESCO, UNICEF, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Health Organization.

Israel relaxed the blockade restrictions two years ago, including expanding the list of building materials allowed in, but continues to inspect all goods entering Gaza to prevent terrorist activity.

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