8:09 AM

Sri Lankan Envoy Barred from Israeli-Occupied Territories

Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN and chairman of the UN's Special Committee on Israeli Practices, was barred once again from entering the occupied Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and Gaza.

He said the Israeli authorities prevented him and his three-member committee "from seeing the reality." As a result, he said, the Special Committee had to rely on consultations with witnesses to the "human symptoms developing among many of Gaza's children."

"Children see their fathers humiliated everyday and they are losing hope, it can lead to them turning to extremism," he told reporters at a press conference in Cairo. The other members of the committee are the UN ambassadors from Malaysia and Senegal.

While he warned of the immediate and long-term consequences of rising unemployment and poverty levels, fuel and electricity cuts, restrictions on the import of essential goods and restrictions on freedom of movement to and from Gaza, Kariyawasam was especially concerned about the children of Gaza.