Ban: Israel violating Palestinian rights

Israel is violating the human rights of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, the top U.N. official said.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday that Israel’s decision to interrupt the provision of essential services, such as electricity and fuel, to Gaza contravenes its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights toward the territory’s civilian population.

In a statement Ban called on the Israeli government to reconsider its decision, which also includes a declaration that the Gaza Strip is an “enemy entity.”

“There are 1.4 million people in Gaza, including the old, the young and the sick, who are already suffering from the impact of prolonged closure,” he said. “They should not be punished for the unacceptable actions of militants and extremists.”

The statement noted that the United Nations has broad humanitarian responsibilities and is mandated to provide assistance to and meet the humanitarian needs of civilians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Ban added that “the continued indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel is unacceptable and I deplore it. I call for it to stop immediately. I understand Israel’s security concerns over this matter.”

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