UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in Gaza on Tuesday there will be no Middle East peace or security for Israel if the crisis in densely populated Palestinian territory escalates.
Ban’s visit to the Gaza Strip comes one day after meetings in Ramallah and Jerusalem with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The UN chief called for a political solution to the decades old conflict, backing the two-state solution.
During a press conference in Gaza, Ban stressed that “the build-destroy cycle must be broken” and that “the mindless pattern of blockades, rockets and destruction must stop”.
The rockets fired by Hamas and other military groups must stop as it has brought nothing but suffering, Ban said.
The government of national consensus has brought together Palestinian factions that have long been divided. The agreement between the UN, Palestine, and Israel should help bring in critical supplies for reconstruction.
Ban announced that the first bag of cement arrived Tuesday in Gaza to begin the reconstruction process.
He noted that “he is committed to doing everything possible to support political efforts to finally end nearly half century of occupation”.
Following his Gaza visit, Ban is also expected to visit an Israeli kibbutz that was damaged by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip during the conflict over the summer.
Over 2,200 people were killed in 50 days of conflict with the fighting ending with an open ended cease-fire brokered by Egypt. The vast majority of the deaths were in the Gaza Strip.
Egypt and Norway co-hosted an international donor conference in Cairo on Sunday which raised $5.4bn to rebuild Gaza and to support the Palestinian Authority.
The participants in the conference stressed the importance of finding a lasting solution to the conflict.
Additional reporting by Joel Gulhane