GAZA — Newly-appointed United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl on Wednesday described Israel's seven-year siege of the Gaza Strip as the "longest in history."
Speaking at a conference in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, he added that the blockade was being used to collectively punish the Palestinian people.
He said everybody should focus on the fact that Gaza's people merely wanted their dignity, freedom and humanity.
Krahenbuhl said that in 2000, the UNRWA had offered aid to around 80,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip. He added that the agency now provides aid to some 800,000 refugees in the territory, adding that this amount was increasing year after year.
Gaza Strip's roughly 1.8 million inhabitants have groaned under a harsh Israeli blockade since 2007, which continues to deprive them of most essential goods.
Recently, living conditions in the Palestinian enclave deteriorated further after Egypt began destroying the smuggling tunnels linking the coastal enclave to the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt accuses Hamas, which has governed Gaza since 2007, of involvement in violence and unrest in Sinai.