Concluding a visit to Palestine and Israel, United Nations’ undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, Mr. Jhon Holmes, said in a press conference in Jerusalem today that he is extremely concerned over the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza.’There has been widespread deterioration of health services, industries and private sector in Gaza in the shadow of an eight-month-long restrictions that led to a security and political crisis, leaving grave impact on the humanitarian situation’, Holmes was quoted as saying.

The UN chief also said that there has been an increase of the demand for international aid assistance over the past eight moths, as 73 percent of Gaza’s population depend entirely on food assistance.

He added that 40 million liters of sewage water are being currently pumped into the Gaza beach, due to deterioration of the sewage water disposal plants in the coastal region, a matter that would ignite an environmental crisis.

A part of his visit to the West Bank, Holmes stressed that the ‘Israel-imposed’ restrictions on movement of people and goods as well as the expansion of settlements and isolation of Palestinian communities have all led to an unbearable situation.

He believed that the situation in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank can never be a basis for a peaceful settlement between Israelis and Palestinians.

During his five-day visit to Palestine and Israel, the UN high-ranking official met with Palestinian and Israeli officials and called on both sides to end the hostilities with Palestinians halting homemade shells fire onto Israel and Israel removing all restrictions on Palestinians including the closure of Gaza.

In September, 2007, Israel declared the Gaza Strip a hostile entity and began imposing a series of punitive measures, to which the United Nations’ Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, opposed.

Israel imposed a total closure on Gaza’s crossings in June of last year, after the Islamist democratically-elected Hamas movement took over the coastal territory amidst a power struggle with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who embraces a peace strategy.