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China urges Israel to lift siege of Gaza
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China on Wednesday called on Israel to lift its siege of the Gaza Strip and allow the passage of international aid into the region, where over 1.5 million people are struggling to survive in a dire humanitarian situation.

Minister Counselor of China's UN mission La Yifan told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that China was "deeply concerned" over the developments regarding the Libyan ship Al-Marwa.

Two Israeli gunboats on Monday prevented Al-Marwa, which was carrying humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, from entering the port of Gaza.

China regretted that the provision of humanitarian supplies to Palestine was once again blocked, he said.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza is "grave" and people over there are in urgent need of food, medicine and other emergency items, he said.

In these circumstances, Israel's closure of Gaza and blocking of humanitarian assistance will not only further exacerbate the plight of the population, but also undermine the atmosphere for both sides to conduct political dialogue and negotiations, he said.

No issue should constitute ground to inflict collective punishment against the population of Gaza, La stressed.

Israel, as the occupying power, is obligated under international law to respect and guarantee the normal humanitarian need of the population in the region, he added.

(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2008)

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