Israel Seals Off Gaza, Expresses Outrage Over UN Remarks

Israel Seals Off Gaza, Expresses Outrage Over UN Remarks

Posted November 18, 2008

As reported yesterday, the Israeli government allowed 33 trucks of humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip. Allowing the international community to send food to the troubled strip is certainly a positive step toward repairing the tenuous ceasefire with Hamas, but would have been more significant had Israeli tanks not leveled farmland during today’s raids into the southern portion of Gaza.

Beyond that, Israel resealed its border crossings with Gaza, so while the UN was able to resume food distribution with the small number of admitted trucks, it won’t be able to maintain them for long. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the blockade for denying 1.5 million Palestinian civilians of “their most basic human rights” and said it was a “direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law.”

The statement has outraged Israel, and Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Aharon Leshno-Yaar condemned Pillay for being “utterly shortsighted,” and insisted that all the problems in the Gaza Strip were entirely the fault of Hamas.

The latest crisis in the strip started two weeks ago when Israeli soldiers attacked a house in the Gaza Strip which they alleged was being used to build a tunnel into Israel to be used for kidnapping raids. The raid sparked a firefight, which led to an Israeli air strike, which led to rocket strikes from Gaza, and the two sides have been trading fire off and on ever since. Israeli officials have hit out at the rocket fire as a blatant violation of the truce, while defending their own attacks as pinpoint operations.

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