Volume. 11964
UN official pledges to lift the 'illegal' siege on Gaza
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_01_Palestine99.jpgThe new Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Pierre Krahenbuhl pledged Thursday to defend Gaza and work hard to end the blockade.
Krahenbuhl said that all United Nations human rights reports, human rights organizations’ reports and journalistic reports could not reflect the continuous suffering and isolation of the Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the Middle East Monitor reported. 
He said that he arrived in Gaza just hours ago and he did not travel there in order to get facts and numbers but to see, defend and show his solidarity with the refugees.
The new UN official noted that his first impression about Gaza is "wires and separation wall" which reminded him of what his predecessor said, "The longest and most famous siege of Leningrad." He stressed that Gaza is living under "illegal" collective punishment.
Regarding his efforts in this field, he pledged to work with the international community and UN leaders to lift the siege. He reiterated that UNRWA will continue to offer its services to the refugees and defend them until their issue, including the right of return, is solved.
He said that he is going to discuss this with all intellectuals and educated people he meets.
Krahenbuhl said UNRWA provided aid to 80,000 refugees in Gaza in 2000. Today, the number is 800,000 and rising.
"We are following more transparent mechanisms to reach the real needy people," he said.
Krahenbuhl called for access to the Palestinian refugees in Syria, especially to the Yarmouk refugee camp. He said Palestinian refugees are being forced to relive the experiences of their fathers.

Palestinian mosque daubed with hate graffiti
Meanwhile, Vandals left anti-Arab graffiti on a mosque in occupied Palestinian city of Umm al-Faham overnight and damaged a door on the building, police said Friday.
"There was an incident in which graffiti was written on a mosque in the city of Umm al-Faham," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, adding that the words "Arabs Out" were painted in Hebrew.
It was the latest in a string of racist and religious attacks over the past few weeks.
Earlier this month suspected Jewish extremists slashed the tires of around 40 cars in a northern Palestinian village, and a Roman Catholic convent west of Jerusalem was vandalized by attackers who sprayed offensive graffiti on the walls and damaged five nearby cars.

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