26-November-2012 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Oxfam Spokesman Calls for End of Embargo on Gaza

Martin Hartberg Says Cease-Fire Is Only First Step

JERUSALEM, NOV. 26, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A spokesman for the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (Oxfam) stated that current cease-fire agreement between Israel and Palestine "is not sufficient" in restoring peace in the region.

Martin Hartberg of Oxfam International released a statement to Fides News Agency calling for an end to the embargo of Gaza which that "for five years has been subject to a crippling blockade, which has limited imports and exports and destroyed its economy."

Oxfam International, which is one of the largest in the world and has its headquarters in the United Kingdome, is present in Israel and Palestine with development projects for disadvantaged groups, measures concerning child protection, and activities in the field of social and health support for rural development.

While welcoming the news of the cease-fire, Hartberg said that while it is essential, it is still only the first step. "Violence in recent weeks has been devastating for the people in Gaza and Israel. Hundreds of lives have been lost and homes, schools and kindergartens destroyed. People need to be able to go back to living a normal life," the statement read.

For over a week the school in Gaza and southern Israel have been closed and the activities through which people make a living in Gaza, such as fishing and agriculture, have been stopped because [it is] considered too dangerous. "

Hartberg also stated that since the blockade began five years ago, "a third of the companies in Gaza have closed and 80% of the population is now in need of aid."

The spokesman for Oxfam concluded his statement calling on the international community to "be bolder" in ending the embargo affecting Gaza. Only by removing the blockade, he stated, "we will have a chance to end the relentless cycle of violence that has devastated millions of lives."

"If the Gaza blockade continues and the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank remain separate, it will be impossible to reach the solution of two states for two peoples advocated by the international community."

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