All crossings for goods going into Gaza from Israel remained closed today, with no fuel, humanitarian supplies or commercial commodities reaching the 1.5 million inhabitants, the United Nations reported today.
The Kerem Shalom crossing was last open on 27 November, the Nahal Oz fuel pipelines and Karni conveyer belt last functioned on 26 November, and the crossings at Sufa have been closed since 13 September, the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reported.
UN officials, from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on downwards, have repeatedly called on Israel to urgently permit the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s civilians. At the same time, Mr. Ban has reiterated his condemnation of rocket attacks by Palestinian militants in Gaza against Israeli civilian targets, which Israel has cited as a reason for the closures.
Meanwhile, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry today stressed the urgency of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in 2009. “We have genuine international unity and determination behind the drive towards a two state solution. What we may not have is the luxury of time,” he told an international media seminar on peace in the Middle East, held in Vienna.
The two-State solution, with Israel and a Palestinian State living side by side in peace, is the goal of the Roadmap plan championed by the so-called Quartet – the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States – and was originally slated for attainment by the end of 2005. Another deadline is due to expire on 31 December. Last year at the Annapolis conference in the US, both sides committed to reach an agreement by the end of this year.