Describing the continuing blockade of Gaza Strip as “frustrating”, a top UN official has asked Israel to end the siege and allow essential goods to reach the Palestinian territory so that the people there can live a “normal life“.

“We continue to call for the relaxation of this blockade on Gaza and the entry of goods in a normal way, to allow reconstruction and to allow the Gazans to live something more like a normal life rather than the existence they have at the moment,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, told journalists here.

Mr. Holmes stressed that Corporal Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped by Hamas fighters in 2006 should be released but slammed the Israeli authorities for linking the fate of one soldier to the entire Palestinian population.

“The link between that and the fate of one and a half million Palestinians in Gaza does not seem to us a reasonable one,” the UN official said, noting that no constructions good were being allowed inside to rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure that was destroyed by Israeli Defence Forces during Operation Cast Lead between December 2008 and January 2009.

“That is very frustrating,” said Mr. Holmes, who visited the region for four days earlier this month.

He noted that the goods coming in through the network of underground tunnels from Egypt were not available to everyone since most had no livelihood and was also creating an “illegal gangster economy.”

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