The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has welcomed a visit by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the Gaza Strip, urging him to seek the lifting of the inhumane Israeli blockade on the coastal sliver.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum described Guterres’ Gaza visit on Wednesday, as “an indication to the special status of the Gaza Strip in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and to the deteriorating living conditions” caused by the “relentless” Israeli siege on the Palestinian enclave.
He further expressed dismay at the continuation of the Gaza blockade before the eyes of the international community, calling on the UN chief to meet with the families of the Palestinians held in Israeli jails, the patients denied medical treatment outside Gaza and owners of destroyed houses and victims of Israeli assaults.
Guterres should “make all possible efforts to lift the Gaza siege and end the suffering of two million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison,” Barhoum said.
The Hamas spokesman also asked Guterres to approve the relief and development programs for Gaza and pressure the Israeli occupation into ending its violation of Palestinian rights.
On Tuesday, the UN secretary general held a joint press conference with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah following a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Hamdallah said he had discussed with Guterres “the latest developments regarding the political, economic and humanitarian situation in the West Bank, Jerusalem [al-Quds] and Gaza Strip.”
Guterres, for his part, reiterated his commitment to the so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying, “There is no plan B to the two-state solution.”
He also denounced the Israeli settlement activities in the occupied lands as “illegal in international law” and “an obstacle” to the so-called peace in the region.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.
Tel Aviv has waged three wars on the coastal enclave since 2008, including one in 2014, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.
Israel is building a 64-kilometer-long wall around Gaza to prevent what it claims to be tunneling into the occupied territories.