September 10, 2010
During a Tuesday meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama said the regional situation was "unsustainable" and called for a narrow blockade on the impoverished coastal sliver, the Associated Press reported.
Israel placed Gaza under the all-out siege in mid-June 2007, claiming it was preventing alleged security hazards posed by the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, which had won democratic elections a year earlier.
The Tel Aviv-imposed restrictions trampled on the group's right to power and found an inflicted more suffering on the rest of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.
The blockade has ever since deprived Gaza's 1.5 million residents of food, fuel and other necessities
The siege remains in order while the coastal sliver is far from recovering from the full-fledged Israeli war at the turn of 2009, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and inflicted a damage of more than USD1.6 billion on its economy.
Sixty-one percent of the Gazans are below the United Nations-defined poverty line, a Press TV's correspondent in the Gaza Strip reported on Tuesday, citing a study by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"More than 10 percent of Gazans, mostly children, are physically stunted due to malnutrition," he said.
"We are talking about the severe economic situation that the Palestinians (are) facing. Because…there is no industrial zones, no job opportunities," economic analyst, Mohsin Abu Ramadan told Press TV.
He said that the continuation of the siege as well as the Gaza War had "destroyed the infrastructure."
Obama, however, repeated Tel Aviv's so-called concerns, saying that the blockade was required to prevent the alleged flow of arms to Hamas.
The comments also came as Tel Aviv is feared to cause its self-proclaimed lack of "security" to overshadow the Palestinian demands during renewed direct talks with the PA in Washington.
On Thursday, the Palestinian Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee released a statement, saying, “We will work to seriously be engaged with these negotiations. We refuse any extremist Israeli government positions especially…any disproportionate focus on security."
The US president, though, said that Washington and Tel Aviv were tied by an "unbreakable" bond and that the US would never ask Israel to undermine its security.