Hamas accusing UN of favoring Israel. The organization's spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum on Saturday criticized the United Nation's call to refrain from initiating future flotillas to Gaza and transfer aid to the strip via land and not through the sea.
"This call favors the occupation," Barhoum said. "This is unacceptable to us. It contradicts international law and even constitutes cooperation with the occupation, allowing it to continue with its aggression without being held accountable."
According to Barhoum, the UN should work to ensure that the blockade on Gaza is lifted in full, and that all crossings into it be opened. "The Strip has the right to use the sea for transportation, trade and tourism purposes," he stressed.
Barhoum was outraged by statements made by UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky on Friday, when he told a press briefing that "there are established routes for supplies to enter by land. That is the way aid should be delivered to the people of Gaza."
He stressed that this remains the UN's position "particularly at a sensitive time in indirect proximity (peace) talks between Palestinians and Israelis."
Nesirky commended the line of easements of the siege recently announced by Israel, but stressed that additional steps were needed to improve the living standards of the civilian population in Gaza.
"There has been progress in increasing the amount of aid, but it's far from enough and we continue to call for that," Nesirky said. "We repeatedly said it is vital there should be unfettered access for people and supplies," he said.
Thursday night, Israel's UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev wrote to UN chief Ban Ki-moon to warn that her country "reserves its right under international law to prevent" the two ships from Lebanon, identified as Junia and Julia, from accessing the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory.
"The stated intention of these vessels is to violate the existing naval blockade of Gaza," Shalev wrote. "It cannot be ruled out that these vessels carry weapons or individuals with provocative and confrontational intentions."
The Israeli envoy pointed out that "all goods that are not weapons or materiel for war-like purposes are now entering the Gaza Strip through appropriate mechanisms that ensure their delivery as well as their civilian nature."
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