Wednesday, May 18, 2011

OPT: EC Commissioner calls for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of Gaza Strip crossings

Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department

Brussels, 17 May 2011

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva has highlighted the dramatic and far-reaching effects of the blockade of the Gaza Strip. As the Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response has just seen for herself, the blockade exacerbates the predicament of a large number of Palestinians, and hinders the flow of humanitarian aid, persons and commercial goods to and from the Gaza Strip.

During her visit to projects in Gaza, funded by the European Union, Commissioner Georgieva underscored the importance of implementing the Agreement on Movement and Access for Gaza. The Commissioner elaborated: “The blockade impedes the movement of people and the import and export of goods, which has numerous, frustrating and development-sapping consequences. For example, it is very difficult to bring construction materials into Gaza, where they are urgently needed to build houses and schools. Another example is the hardship of fishermen, who are unable to go beyond the over-fished three-mile zone and therefore struggle to maintain their livelihood”.

After meeting with Israeli Defence Minister E. Barak in Tel Aviv, together with UN Under Secretary-General Valerie Amos, Commissioner Georgieva said: “The EU and the UN continue to draw attention to the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and are calling for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons. This is the message we conveyed to Israeli Defence Minister E. Barak".

Background Between 2000 and the start of 2011, the European Commission has provided around €600 million in humanitarian aid for the basic needs of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. In 2010, the Commission's assistance supported the nutrition of 700,000 people, healthcare for 355,000 vulnerable Palestinians, clean water for 340,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank, protection, psychological care for children and adults, shelter and support for Palestinian refugees.

For more information:
Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva’s website:

The Commission's humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Middle East: