The United Nations' coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories warned on Tuesday that farmers and fishermen in the Gaza Strip are facing collapse due to a near three-year Israeli blockade on imports and exports in the area.
Philippe Lazzarini said in Jerusalem that six out of 10 households in the Gaza Strip suffer from an
uncertain food supply.
He pointed in particular to an "absurd situation" in the fishing industry. The revenues of Palestinian fisherman have reportedly dropped by 72 per cent since Israel limited the fishing zone to three nautical miles (5.6 kilometres).
Since then, the coastal population has had to resort to importing fish from Israel or through tunnels under the Egyptian border, Lazzarini said.
The UN coordinator thus called on Israel to lift the fishing restrictions. He also asked it to allow the import of seeds, irrigation pipes and vaccines for animals.
Israel almost completely sealed off the Gaza Strip after the bloody rise to power of the radical Islamic Hamas organisation in June 2007. Israel has classified Hamas as a terrorist group.
According to the UN, the Israeli-imposed blockade amounts to a collective punishment of 1.5 million people and thereby violates international law.