|Date: 22/04/2010 Time: 10:28:00 PM
John Ging, Director of UNRWA Operations
in Gaza, on Thursday depicted a grim picture of the living conditions in Gaza
because of the three-year long blockade, blaming the "political situation" for
the plight of the Palestinians living there.
People in Gaza are "struggling to survive. The infrastructure of water and
sanitation is in a state of collapse. There is no legitimate economy anymore.
The physical and psychological suffering continues on a daily basis," Ging
said in his opening remarks at a press conference here without mentioning
"It is time to put people before the politics. If we do focus on the needs
of the people, in our view, that will make the politics easier moving forward.
Abandon the people, leave the people to despair and desperation, that will
make the politics more difficult moving forward," he said.
He noted that there has been a positive development recently and "we
welcome that very much," in reference to Israel easing the blockade during the
last two weeks, but, he said, that was only a "drop in a bucket," insisting
that "is not a half-full glass."
UNRWA preoccupation right now, he said, is the registration for the next
"We have not been able to accommodate thousands of children who were
seeking a UN education in Gaza. We have not been allowed to build a school in
Gaza for three years," he explained.
Asked who is responsible for that situation, Ging said the International
Agreement on Moving and Access signed in 2005 between Israel, Egypt and the
Palestinian Authority provides for access through various Israeli and Egyptian
crossing points, adding that there will soon be air access for passengers and
sea access for supplies.
He called on all parties to have the political will to move forward because
"failure has a consequence and the consequence is too-high a price to pay
going forward, starting the physical incapacity of UNRWA to educate thousands
of children who are unequivocally innocent in this conflict."
"There are plenty of physical possibilities to solve this problem. And it
is way past time now that there is a solution to this, because the price of
political failure is being paid for by the children and the elimination of
their hopeful future," he said.
Ging encouraged foreign political delegations to visit Gaza where they will
be treated by Gazans with respect.
"That's one of the features that strikes people when they come to the Gaza
Strip. There is a distance between the mischaracterization of Gaza, as a
so-called 'hostile entity,' and the scale of the civility of the people who
populate the Gaza Strip in these very uncivilized circumstances. They are very
civilized people who manifest very clearly interact with visitors."