The UNRWA commissioner-general, Filippo Grandi, urged Cairo and Tel Aviv on Tuesday to put an end to the plight of the 1.8 million Palestinians imprisoned in the blockaded coastal enclave.
“I think the world should not forget about the security of the people of Gaza,” Grandi said.
“Their security is worth the same as everybody else’s security, so we appeal to the humanitarian sense of all,” he stated.
Grandi called Israel’s closure of the Palestinian territory illegal and urged Tel Aviv to lift the crippling blockade.
He said although Israel has allowed in limited building materials for UN projects, Gazans still face poverty due to the halt of exports and imports.
The UN official also appealed to Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing, especially for students and those in need of medical treatment.
Israel has imposed an air, sea and land siege on Gaza for more than seven years, while Egypt’s military-backed government has tightened its control on entry into the region since the summer of 2013.
This has turned the region into the largest open-air prison in the world and caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
Official Palestinian statistics say the restrictions have raised Gaza’s unemployment rate to nearly 40 percent while, according to the UNRWA, 80 percent of the population of Gaza receives aid.