UN expert calls on Israel to end Gaza blockade Kimberly Bennett at 9:42 AM ET
[JURIST] The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories Richard Falk on Friday called on Israel [statement] to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounder]. The blockade, which restricts the flow of goods and people into the region through heavily-guarded border-crossings, has been devastating for the 1.75 million Palestinians living in the region. Falk stated [press release] that Israel should lift the blockade "entirely and immediately," calling it "a deliberate policy of collective punishment which is legally indefensible and morally reprehensible." The announcement followed Israel's approval of the delivery of $100 million in building materials for 1,200 homes and 18 schools for projects in Gaza run by the UN. Falk also commented on the public health situation in the region, stating that Gaza's health ministry has reported that the region is running desperately short on medical supplies and equipment. He urged Israel to act within its obligation under international law to maintain public order and civil life, including the delivery of health care.
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