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Ban Ki-moon
Photo: Reuters
Ban: Israel's measures against Gaza unacceptable
UN chief says limitation of fuel and electricity supplies 'deepens the humanitarian distress of the 1.4 million residents of Strip', urges Jewish state to 'reconsider its actions'
UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday slammed Israel's "punitive measures" against the Gaza Strip as "unacceptable" and urged the Jewish state to reconsider its actions.

 

A statement issued by his spokeswoman Michele Montas said the secretary general "believes strongly that punitive measures taken by Israel which harm the well-being of the entire population of the Gaza Strip are unacceptable."

 

Ban urged the Jewish state "to reconsider its actions and for all concerned to protect civilians and to meet their obligations under international law."

 

"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 statement said.

 

But Ban also reiterated his call for an end to "indiscriminate attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel", which he "strongly condemns."

 

Sunday, Israel began restricting fuel shipments to Gaza after declaring the territory a "hostile entity" on September 19 following a bloody takeover in June that saw the radical Islamist Hamas seize control.

 

Earlier Monday, a top EU official also expressed concern about Israel's economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip, urging restraint and saying the measures could bolster extremists in the Hamas-run territory.

 

"I have mentioned these concerns openly in all my discussions," External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told a news conference following talks with top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

 

Both the EU and the United States froze aid to Gaza following the Islamist Hamas movement's electoral victory in February 2006, and since its complete seizure of power in June Israel has closed it off to all but vital goods.

 

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