Amnesty urges Israel to lift Gaza blockade entirely
Israel's easing of its blockade on the Gaza Strip is not enough, Amnesty International said Thursday, lamenting that the measure also still prevents exports from leaving.
The London-based human rights group urged Israel to lift the blockade completely on the Hamas-run territory.
"This announcement makes it clear that Israel is not intending to end its collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population, but only ease it. This is not enough," said Amnesty's Middle East director Malcolm Smart.
"Any step that will help reduce the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza is to be welcomed," but Israel should lift the blockade entirely, he said.
Smart added: "Just as important as allowing goods into Gaza is allowing exports to leave Gaza, yet there is no mention of this in today's announcement.
"Banning the vast majority of exports, raw materials and the movement of people has destroyed the economy of Gaza, and pushed its population into unemployment, poverty and dependency on aid agencies for survival.
"These problems will not be solved while the blockade continues."
Amnesty said measures limiting civilian goods, the movement of people and exports, targeted the civilian population as a whole and not armed groups in particular.
"Any restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods into or out of Gaza must be proportionate and non-discriminatory," said Smart.
"Israel may need to carry out monitoring of entry points to Gaza for security purposes, but that monitoring must be targeted at those suspected of posing a security threat -- not to the whole population."
© 2010 AFP