European Union Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, lashed out at Israel for failing to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Ashton stated that despite Israeli vows to the International community, the Gaza Strip remains under strict siege and closure.

In June, Israel vowed to loosen its siege on the coastal enclave in response to the international outcry after its commandos killed, on May 31, nine Turkish activists who were trying to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

‘Gaza remains a source of great concern for me…at the present time, we think that what’s is happening is unsatisfactory, the volume of goods allowed into Gaza is not increasing to the urgently needed level,’ Ashton stated while speaking on behalf of all EU Foreign Ministers.

Ashton also urged Israel to allow exports out of Gaza and to allow construction materials into the coastal region, and added that the United Nations Refugees & Works Agency (UNRWA) needs construction materials to rebuild schools, bombarded by Israel during the war. She pointed out that the economy needs to be allowed to recover, and the people must be allowed to invest in their future.

The EU’s top foreign policy official also voiced concern over the failure of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, especially after the settlement freeze expired in September, and Israel presented new plans for massive settlement construction and expansion in the occupied territories.