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ICRC demands action over Palestinian crisis

Palestinians in the occupied territories have effectively become hostages because of ongoing hostilities between Israel and Palestinian factions, warns the Red Cross.

The Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Thursday for immediate political action to contain the "deep crisis" in the West Bank and Gaza.

The statement came just a few days ahead of an important donor conference early next week in Paris, where governments are being asked to provide the Palestinians with $5.6 billion (SFr6.37 billion) over the next three years.

The Geneva-based organisation said the measures imposed by Israel came at an "enormous humanitarian cost", leaving the people under occupation with "just enough to survive, but not enough to live a normal and dignified life".

"The (Gaza) Strip has been progressively sealed off since June: imports are restricted to the bare minimum and essential infrastructure, including medical supplies and water and sanitation systems, is in an increasingly fragile state," it stated.

The ICRC said that that humanitarian aid on its own was not sufficient.

It called on Israel to "respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, to ease restrictions on movement in the Gaza Strip and West Bank and to lift the retaliatory measures that are paralysing life in Gaza".


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