United Nations Secretary General, Pan Ki-Moon, called on Israel yesterday to lift all movement restrictions it is imposing on the Palestinian people, voicing concern that such practices might hamper the two-state solution envisioned by the Road Map peace plan for Palestinian-Israeli peace.Ki-moon appealed to the international community to provide humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people, who have been going through harsh economic difficulties since March 2006.

The Secretary General’s statement, delivered on his behalf by his political affairs assistant Angela Ken, came during a special conference for assistance to the Palestinians held Monday in the Qatari city of Aldouha.

Ken was quoted as saying “unless all necessary measures are taken to ensure the security of both Palestinians and Israelis alike, and Palestinians are enabled to live normal social and economic life, the whole political process can never succeed”.

“the Israeli restrictions being imposed on the Palestinians as well as the continued Israeli settlement activities including the separation barrier (Apartheid Wall) would leave a destructive impact on the Palestinian economy and would complicate efforts to reach a two-state solution”, the UN Secretary General believed.

Ki-moon welcomed the Israeli step to transfer some custom money due to the Palestinian Authority, urging the Israeli government to take similar actions. and calling on the international community to double humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

The Aldouha two-day conference will deal with the current huge financial, humanitarian and social crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories in light of the ongoing internationally-imposed economic embargo since a Hamas-led government has been installed in last January parliamentary elections.

Baul Badji, head of the UN Special Committee for the Practice of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which chairs the conference, said that punishing the Palestinian people would not bring security to Israel.

Badji called on Israel to rather contribute to rehabilitation of the Palestinian economy, asserting that unless there is a strong economy that ensures food and employment for the Palestinian population, peace will remain unattainable.

The international community including the United States and Israel has been imposing an economic embargo on an elected Hamas-government since March 2006, creating an extremely difficult economic situation. Israel alone has been withholding approximately 500 million dollars of custom money due to the Palestinian Authority, while it has recently released some of this money.

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