UN humanitarian chief criticizes Israel over Gaza
UN humanitarian chief criticizes Israel over Gaza
Friday, March 12,2010 20:24


Mr Holmes of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs stressed that  Israeli actions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including expanding settlements, was counter to the peace process
Mr Holmes, was speaking at the UN after visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories earlier this month
Mr Holmes told journalists however, there had been some if little progress where  the Israelis had allowed into Gaza goods such as glass to fix broken windows
Mr Holmes said the situation in Gaza was so bad that even though smuggling tunnels to Egypt were fostering a "gangster economy", the situation would become unsustainable if they were blocked
Egypt is reinforcing its Gaza border barrier with underground metal plates in an attempt to block the tunnels
Mr Holmes spoke as Mr Biden was winding down his trip to the Middle East, the highest ranking Obama administration official yet to go to Israel and the West Bank
On Tuesday, the Israeli interior ministry said that the Jerusalem authorities had approved the expansion of Jewish homes in East Jerusalem
Mr Biden said the decision "undermined the trust required for productive negotiations" and warranted his unequivocal condemnation
Close to 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.