Palestinian gov’t calls for int’l pressure on Israel to lift siege on Gaza

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RAMALLAH, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) — The Palestinian government on Sunday called for international pressure on Israel to lift the siege it has imposed on the Gaza Strip for almost a decade.

The authorities also demanded to regain the national unity by fulfilling the steps of the Egypt-brokered deal, Yousef Al-Mahmoud, spokesman of the government, said in a press statement.

The only way out of “the current internal crisis is ending the division,” Mahmoud said, hinting at Hamas’ responsibility for “rejecting the achievement of the reconciliation.”

The statement came a day after a Palestinian businessmen association declared that over 95 percent of Gaza’s factories have stopped production because of an Israeli restriction imposed more than a month ago on the entry of raw materials into the coastal enclave.

The association said nearly 75,000 people have lost their jobs due to the restriction, warning that the economy of the Gaza strip is “going through a critical phase” and may fall apart.

Israel said the new restriction came in response to the launch of incendiary balloons and kites from Gaza toward fields in southern Israel as part of the ongoing Palestinian anti-Israel “Great March of Return” mass rally since March 30.

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