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Arab League Demands Gaza Siege End


Arab League chief Amr Moussa (2nd L) waves during his visit to houses, destroyed during the offensive Israel launched in 2008, in Gaza June 13, 2010. (Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

Amr Moussa, the Arab League secretary-general, has called for an end to Israel's siege on the Gaza Strip.

"This blockade...must be lifted and must be broken and the Arab
League decision is very clear in this regard," he said on Sunday.

comments came immediately after he arrived in the Gaza Strip, his first
visit to the territory since Israel's imposition of a crippling
blockade in 2006.

He told reporters at the Rafah crossing point that Arab
governments should help in implementing the Arab League resolution that
seeks to end the siege. 

reached the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing shortly before
10:00am (0700 GMT) where he was welcomed by members of Gaza's ruling
Hamas movement, as well as representatives of various Palestinian

He crossed into the enclave from Egypt, two weeks after Israel's
deadly interception of a Gaza aid flotilla that was intended to deliver
humanitarian aid to the territory.


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Palestinian reconciliation

At a joint news conference with Moussa shortly after his arrival,
Basim Naeem, the Hamas health minister, said the visit indicated that
"the boycott between Gaza and the Arab nation was broken".

Egypt had kept its border with Gaza largely closed, bolstering
Israel's embargo, since Hamas seized control of the Strip from
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah forces in 2007.

But Cairo eased restrictions at its Rafah crossing with the
territory after Israeli marines killed nine pro-Palestinian Turkish
activists during violent confrontations on the Turkish-flagged aid
convoy on May 31.

Palestinian and Arab League officials said Moussa's visit was also
aimed at giving momentum to reconciliation talks between Hamas and
Fatah. Egypt has sponsored the talks but they have failed to bridge
deep mistrust between the two rivals.

Moussa, however, said he had not come to Gaza to give support to any
political faction, but to meet the Palestinian people of the territory.

Ismail Haniya, Hamas's leader in Gaza, said he hoped that Moussa's
visit would result in practical measures to end the siege on Gaza.

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