Monday, June 21, 2010

The "Quartet" Demands Change in Gaza

Earlier today, the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and the Russia Federation (together called the Middle East Quartet) jointly issued a statement demanding change in Israel's policy towards Gaza. In the Quartet's official statement, they stated that the "current situation in Gaza, including the humanitarian and human rights situation of the civilian population, is unsustainable, unacceptable, and not in the interests of any of those concerned." The role of the international organizations, such as the UN, and non-governmental organizations was emphasized in the effort to meet the needs of the people in Gaza. The Quartet said that it would closely monitor the change in Israel's blockade while also encouraging all forms of aid go through "established channels so that their cargo can be inspected."

This statement comes just a few days after Israel announced that it would be allowing more freedom in its blockade of Gaza. Despite the loosening of its hold, cement and iron are still banned by Israel's blockade. Palestinian's claim that these items are necessary for repairing damaged infrastructure, but Israel claims that they can be used for increasing defense preparations. Israel's blockade has come under intense international scrutiny since Israeli forces raided a Palestinian-bound flotilla, which was carrying aid to the strip, and killed 9 passengers. Since the incident the US has promised over $400 million in aid to Gaza for poverty reduction efforts and economic reconstruction.
SOURCES: Official Statement by the Quartet, US Assistant to Gaza