Scaling Down of Gaza Blockade Is Welcome But Not Enough

Chairwoman Hautala met today with Mr John Ging, Head of UN relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip, to discuss the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the recent scaling down of the blockade. [:]

Mr Ging underlined that the momentum of frustration is a huge window of opportunity to make tangible progress in improving the situation on the ground and in effectively resolving the situation. It is horrendous that killings of nine people on flotilla of ships destined to Gaza on 31st of May have brought about this rare momentum but also a reason to ensure that this would not happen again.

The international community is increasingly agreed on that the attack would not have happened without the blockade. In this regard Mr Ging emphasized that while the blockade is inhumane and illegal it is also wholly counterproductive.

Key focus should now be on developing the economy, namely on developing the manufacturing and exporting goods from Gaza. At the same time human rights education in Gaza is also vitally important to break off the cycle of violence and radicalisation. Winning of the hearts and minds is a precondition for any sustainable solution, Ms Hautala agreed.

There must be an end for the economic and financial blockade, while maintaining blockade for arms trade in place. Mr Ging stressed that while the international community now has a unique opportunity to resolve the situation, the EU can play a key role in this. While Ms Hautala agreed she noted that reconciliation is inevitably central part of the solution and cooperation with the civil society both in Israel and Palestine in this regard is imperative.