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UN official: Blockade failed to weaken gov’t in Gaza

The Israeli blockade of Gaza Strip has failed to weaken the Hamas-led government and only succeeded in making the poor poorer, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a press release on Tuesday.

He said that the Palestinian government managed to secure a growth of nearly 3 per cent in the public sector in the second half of 2010.

The report issued on the fifth anniversary of the Israeli siege of Gaza noted that unemployment rate in the Strip was among the highest in the world, explaining that it reached a record 45.2 per cent.

Gunness pointed out that the public sector generated 70 per cent of all net job growth as between second-half 2009 and second-half 2010. “If the aim of the blockade policy was to weaken the Hamas administration, the public employment numbers suggest this has failed.”

Criticizing the Israeli policy of blockading Gaza, the UN official said, “It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution.”

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