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Government concerned by situation in Gaza

The Swiss government has called on Israel to lift a blockade imposed in response to rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, which the Swiss have condemned.

This content was published on January 22, 2008 - 14:26

The comments were made at the third session of political dialogue with Israel in Bern and follow a warning by the Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the state of basic services in the Gaza Strip.

The government expressed its concern at the socio-economic developments in Gaza and urged Israel to follow humanitarian law and allow provisions and fuel into the Palestinian territory.

The ICRC said on Tuesday a shipment would be allowed into Gaza later in the day, but said aid delivered needed to be allowed into the territory on a regular basis to prevent a complete collapse of health and sanitary services.

Israel sealed Gaza on Thursday, halting fuel shipments. As a result, Gaza's only power plant, which provides electricity to about a third of Gaza's 1.5 million residents, shut down three days later.

As Israel delivered some fuel for Gaza's power plant on Tuesday, easing the blockade, a spokeswoman said the situation was still very precarious, with Gaza's hospitals pooling their fuel so that life-saving services, such as surgery and intensive care units, could be maintained.

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