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    Israeli blockade of Gaza Strip 'unacceptable' - German FM

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    German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Monday that Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip was unacceptable, German media said.

    German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Monday that Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip was unacceptable, German media said.

    Westerwelle arrived on Sunday on a two-day visit to Israel and the Gaza Strip to promote peace negotiations in the region.

    "It is not acceptable to blockade 1.5 million people in Gaza," Westerwelle said.

    "[The blockade] strengthens the radicals and weakens the moderates and the opposite is what we should be doing," he said. "It is important that imports and exports are allowed through again."

    The two largest Palestinian factions split in June 2007, about 18 months after Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006. In the ensuing armed clashes between the two parties, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip and pushed the ruling Fatah movement out of the enclave.

    In early September 2009, Egypt put forward a new document to reconcile the two factions. Fatah signed the agreement last year, but Hamas has so far been reluctant to follow suit.

    The inter-Palestinian rivalry is a major obstacle hampering Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Hamas, which has refused to recognize Israel's right to exist and reserves the right to use violence in its struggle to create a Palestinian state, has denounced the direct peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

    The talks, which resumed in early September after an almost two-year hiatus, are now under threat from the issue of ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.

    GAZA, November 8 (RIA Novosti)

     

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