Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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UN ‘shocked’ by Gaza destruction

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 23 gennaio, 2009

BBC NEWS

23 January 2009

The UN’s humanitarian chief has told the BBC the situation in Gaza after a three-week Israeli offensive against Hamas was worse than he anticipated.

Sir John Holmes, who visited Gaza on Thursday, said he was shocked by “the systematic nature of the destruction”.

He said that the territory’s economic activity had been set back by years.

Meanwhile, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert is reported to have placed his justice minister in charge of defending Israel against any accusations of war crimes.

Daniel Friedman will lead an inter-ministerial team to co-ordinate a legal defence for Israeli civilians and the military, a government source was quoted by AFP as saying.

Richard Falk – the UN special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories – has said there was “a prima facie case” that Israel gravely breached the Geneva Conventions during its 22-day campaign.

Israel responded by saying that Mr Falk’s “bias against Israel was well known”.

Future of Gaza

Mr Holmes, the top UN official responsible for emergency relief and humanitarian affairs, said the scale of destruction would have “disturbing” repercussions for the people of Gaza.

In an interview with the BBC’s Today Programme, he described an industrial area where every building within a square kilometre had been levelled, by bulldozers and shells.

He told of broken pipes pumping out raw sewage onto the streets.

“I’m sure the Israelis would say that’s because there were people there firing shells and rockets from there, or perhaps manufacturing them.

“But the nature of that destruction means that any kind of private economic activity in Gaza is set back by years or decades,” he said.

“That’s very disturbing for the future of Gaza, for the future of the people of Gaza, who are forced to fall back on the public sector and indeed on Hamas, who control the public sector.”

Israel said it launched its offensive to stop cross-border rocket attacks by militants in Gaza against its civilians.

The intense fighting ended on Sunday, with both sides declaring a ceasefire.

Palestinian medical officials said about 1,300 Palestinians were killed and thousands more were injured. Thirteen Israelis died during the conflict.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7846625.stm

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