US delegation urges end to Gaza siege
An American delegation headed by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark has called for an end to the Israeli-imposed Gaza siege.
The delegation arrived in Gaza via the Rafah border crossing for a three-day visit.
The delegation, upon arrival in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, said that the visit was aimed at showing solidarity with the Palestinian people who have been suffering under years of Israeli siege, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Clark met with a number of Hamas officials, including its democratically elected Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and toured some areas that were attacked by Israeli forces during the December 2008-january 2009 war against Gaza.
During a joint press conference in the Gaza City, Haniyeh said that discussions were held on a number of issues, including Israel's blockade of Gaza.
Clark criticized the international community for not doing enough to lift the siege and called for an end to the suffering of the Gazans, who are being punished for their democratic choice.
He also called for an end to the violation of human rights against Palestinians and urged support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
The Gaza Strip has been under a crippling blockade imposed by Tel Aviv since Hamas took power following a landslide win in the 2006 general elections.
The densely populated coastal enclave later saw an all-out onslaught at the turn of 2009 where Israeli soldiers killed more than 1,400 Palestinians in 22 days of land, sea and air attacks.
Two years on since Israel's military offensive, nothing has changed for the better for the residents of Gaza. The territory is still under siege, unemployment is around 40 percent and poverty endemic with more than two-thirds of population relying on food aid by the UN and charity organizations