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UN worried about dire situation in Israeli-blockaded Gaza



The UN has expressed concerns about dismal living conditions due to a high jobless rate in the Gaza Strip, which is grappling with a devastating Israeli siege.

UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Robert Piper made the remarks during a visit to Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.

“Gaza continues to face difficult conditions even though the Palestinian people have great potential,” Piper said.

There are many educated people in Gaza, he said, warning, however, that university graduates face few employment opportunities in the blockaded coastal enclave.

“The high unemployment rate poses a serious challenge,” the UN official added.

UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Robert Piper (3rd from L) visits Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) in Gaza City on August 31, 2016.

Elsewhere in his comments, Piper called on the international community to contribute to the development of Gaza and praised the Palestinian people for their ability to adapt to the difficult circumstances under the Israeli blockade.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

Israel has also waged three wars on Gaza since 2008, including the 2014 offensive, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead and over 11,100 others injured.

A Palestinian boy looks to the sky as he stands next to the debris of a building destroyed during the 2014 Israeli offensive in the Gaza city of Beit Hanun, January 25, 2016. ©AFP

The latest aggression against the Palestinian territory started in early July 2014 and ended after 50 days on August 26 that year, with a truce that took effect after indirect negotiations in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Last month, the Popular Committee Against Siege said that about half of the buildings demolished during the 2014 onslaught are still awaiting reconstruction.

The campaign group added noted that rebuilding Gaza has been hampered by severe restrictions on the entry of materials due to the devastating Israeli siege on the coastal sliver.

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