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Red Cross: Gaza Blockade Illegal http://msnbcmedia4.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/040709/040709_israel_wall_hmed_4a.hmedium.jpg The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has described Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip as a violation of the Geneva Conventions and called on the Israeli government to lift it. The ICRC said goods smuggled through tunnels are often overpriced and of poor quality. Order accupril cod (AFP) In a statement released on Monday, order accupril cod the organisation called the blockade "collective punishment", order accupril cod a crime under international law. Order accupril cod It described Gaza as a territory plagued by frequent power cuts, order accupril cod a ruined economy, order accupril cod and a collapsed health care system. "The closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is about to enter its fourth year, order accupril cod choking off any real possibility of economic development, order accupril cod" the ICRC said. "Gazans continue to suffer from unemployment, order accupril cod poverty and warfare, order accupril cod while the quality of Gaza's health care system has reached an all-time low." Crippling shortages Israeli officials insist that they provide enough "humanitarian aid" to cover Gaza's basic needs. But the ICRC said the meagre list of goods allowed into Gaza doesn't meet the needs of the territory's 1.5 million inhabitants. Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, order accupril cod the head of the ICRC's Middle East operations, order accupril cod told Al Jazeera that the organisation - which traditionally remains neutral - was reluctant to publicly criticise the blockade. Order accupril cod But she said three years of quiet efforts to ease the embargo did not result in any progress. "The result has not been what we expected, order accupril cod and we thought that after three years the situation was dire enough, order accupril cod serious enough, order accupril cod to speak out publicly to try to break this closure of Gaza, order accupril cod" she said. More of the piece can be found at: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/06/14-0 © 2010 Al-Jazeera-English