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Gaza in dire need of aid, UNWRA official says

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Gaza Strip is in dire need of humanitarian aid, according to the director of operations in Gaza for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

John Ging, speaking Tuesday in Washington, stressed that the blocking of aid to Gaza is effectively "destroying a society" and creating a culture of "human misery and suffering."

"The siege on Gaza is illegal," Ging said.

Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade on Gaza since June 2007, shortly after the terrorist organization Hamas took over the political leadership of the strip. Israel continues to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, but restricts building materials and other items that can be used for military purposes.

Ging said he recognized Israel’s legitimate security concerns, but said the current state of life in Gaza has had a "devastating impact on the mindset of the population."

UNRWA has supplied aid to Gaza residents for more than 60 years and is responsible for providing health care relief, social services and a school system.

Ging, the head of UNRWA since 2006, was speaking at a meeting hosted by The New America Foundation, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area and American Friends of UNRWA.

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