UN urges longer lull in Gaza for relief operations

January 13th, 2009 - 4:27 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 13 (DPA) The UN Monday appealed to the Israeli government to institute longer lulls in the fighting so more humanitarian assistance can be provided to the population in Gaza Strip.The Israeli defence forces repeated a three-hour lull Monday to allow dozens of trucks carrying relief supplies to enter Gaza. But John Holmes, the coordinator for UN humanitarian operations, said the lull should last 24 hours and be renewed.

“The three-hour lulls have continued but they are far from satisfactory,” Holmes said at UN headquarters in New York. “The time has changed and in some occasions have caused confusion for aid agencies and the population, of course.”

“We have said consistently that for us to work properly is a full 24-ceasefire, permanently I hope,” he said. “It would be good if the Israelis extended the timing of these lulls because the three hours are not sufficient. It would be better than nothing.”

Both Israel and Hamas have rejected an immediate ceasefire demand issued by the UN Security Council last Thursday and the fighting has instead intensified from the Israel side.

Holmes reported that more than 90 trucks carrying supplies have entered Gaza from Erez crossing in the north of Gaza this past weekend. But other crossings remained closed.

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