EU requests Israel lift air and sea blockade

Sunday, August 20, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel who arrived in Israel yesterday asked Defense Minister Amir Peretz that Israel lift the naval and air blockade on Lebanon and allow the transfer of basic goods into Lebanon and prevent a worsening of the humanitarian situation in Lebanon.

In a press conference in Tel Aviv, Michel said that the blockade has adverse effects on the everyday lives of Lebanese citizens and on the attempt to strengthen the Lebanese government. As an example, Michel mentioned the lack of fuel in Beirut hospitals. Michel added that Defense Minister Peretz has a great desire to assist with humanitarian issues and help the citizens of Lebanon.

Michel emphasized that Hizballah must disarm because it is impossible for a political movement to hold weapons. He called for all sides to implement Security Council Resolution 1701 and said the military option cannot solve all problems. He also called the Lebanese government to exert its sovereignty on all of its territory to help provide humanitarian assistance to the residents of the south.

Michel also added that the EU is planning on sending 100 million Euros to Lebanon for reconstruction. In regards to the kidnapped soldiers, he said that the EU is concerned, but at this time it cannot assist in solving the problem.

Michel toured the city of Haifa and met with people injured by rockets in Rambam Hospital, and saw homes hit by rockets. “Every victim is a victim, in Israel and in Lebanon,” he said. Michel also toured the coordination center for humanitarian assistance that the IDF is operating and said that it is working efficiently, even if not done perfectly.

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