NGOs call on Israel to lift Gaza blockade

Some 50 nongovernmental organizations signed a petition calling on Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Signatories include Amnesty International, Oxfam and the World Health Organization, as well United Nations bodies UNESCO, UNICEF, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Health Organization.

Israel initiated the blockade five years ago when Hamas took over the coastal strip, which is home to 1.6 million Palestinians.

Israel relaxed the blockade restrictions two years ago, including expanding the list of building materials allowed in, but continues to inspect all goods entering Gaza to prevent terrorist activity. — jta