The Gaza Strip is not experiencing a humanitarian crisis, the Israel Defense Forces quoted a Red Cross official as saying on Wednesday.
In an interview conducted by Rotem Caro-Weizman and published on the IDF website, Mathilde Redmatn, deputy director of the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip, said that there "is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza," adding: "If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach."
Rather, according to Redmatn, the issue in Gaza was "mainly in maintenance of infrastructure and in access to goods, concrete for example."
Referring to Israel's blockade on the Strip, Redmatn said that while "Israel has the legitimate right to protect the civilian population, this right should be balanced with the right of 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip."
"Despite the easing of the closure and the partial lifting of export bans in the wake of the flotilla incident, continued restrictions on the movement of people and difficulties in importing building materials hampered sustainable economic recovery and dashed any hope of leading a normal and dignified life," the Red Cross official was quoted as saying.
"Our goal is not to negotiate peace, but to ensure the well-being of the civilian population," Redmatn told the IDF website.
"We understand and recognize Israel's right to security but it needs to maintain the balance between that and the right of Palestinians living in Gaza to [earn] a living and to [access] proper medical care. Of course this is also the responsibility of Hamas to its citizens and therefore we also have relations with them."
Redmatn also reiterated her condemnation of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, saying that "rocket-fire from the Gaza Strip is against international law because it is directed at civilians," adding that the Red Cross conducts a "confidential or bilateral dialogue with Hamas on the matter. As time passes, the dialogue also develops."
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