UN Report Blames Israel for Economic Losses Incurred in the Gaza Strip

Israel accused of violating of West Bank border crossing agreement

The UN accused Israel of violating the border crossing policy created by, among others, the U.S. Foreign Minister, Condoleezza Rice and special representative James Wolfson in November. The agreement was aimed at increasing movement of goods, activity at ports and airstrips, and productivity in the region.

A copy of this report, scheduled for release Thursday by The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, arrived Wednesday at Haaretz. In the report, Israel is accused of violating every section of the policy.

According to the statements, since the capture of soldier Gilad Shalit on June 25th, the roads were closed 86% of the time. Since the middle of January, the daily average number of trucks passing through one of the three roads open for travel was 12, compared to 400, the number Israel agreed to in the contract. Closing the three passages during most of the year also caused unemployment in the area to increase from 33.1% in 2005 to 41.8% this year.

The UN report stressed that passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has been controlled because of increased security measures, although since April 26th there have been very few security events. Only 40 % of the trucks exporting agricultural goods out of the Gaza strip have been allowed to cross the border, causing losses of over 30 million dollars in the region.