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UN humanitarian chief criticises Israel over Gaza
Taizhou Guotai Safety Equipment Manufacturing Co., Ltd.  TIme:2010-03-12 13:43:22

The UN''s top humanitarian official, John Holmes, has criticised Israel for linking the 2006 capture of an Israeli soldier to its blockade of Gaza.

Mr Holmes also said Israeli actions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including expanding settlements, was counter to the peace process.

He urged a relaxation of the blockade, warning Gaza was "de-developing".

US Vice-President Joe Biden''s visit to the region has been soured by Israeli plans for new homes in East Jerusalem.

The Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was captured by Palestinian militants nearly four years ago near the border with Gaza.

''Gangster economy''

Mr Holmes, of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, was speaking at the UN after visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories earlier this month.

"Obviously we''ve called for the release of Corporal Shalit, and that he should be treated in accordance to the Geneva conventions," Mr Holmes said.

"But the link between that and the fate of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza does not seem to us a reasonable one."

He said the blockade of Gaza had not weakened Hamas, the militant Islamist movement which controls the territory.

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