President Rivlin meets UN Chief Ban Ki-moon.
(photo credit: GPO)
The best way to end the border restrictions on Gaza is to make it impossible for Hamas to execute terrorist activities, President Reuven Rivlin told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon late Monday afternoon.
“We Israelis understand that the solution should be found regarding the closure on the Gaza strip,” Rivlin said.
“Over 1.5 million Palestinians can not continue living under closure,” Rivlin said.
“We are not blind to the difficult conditions in which they are living,” the president added.
“Having said that, lifting the closure can take place only after the Palestinian leadership and the international community will find a way to dismantle the terror capability of Hamas and will assure that Israeli citizens will be able to live in safety,” Rivlin said.
Both before his visit to Jerusalem and during it, Ban called on Israel to lift all its restrictions on Gaza, a 360 sq.km. area bordering Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel has imposed a naval and arial blockade of the area to prevent weapons from entering Gaza.
Israel heavily restricts travel and the passage of goods out of Gaza, in two of the three borders it controls. Food and humanitarian supplies can enter. Its expected that in the near future building material will be able to enter, now that Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the UN have agreed on a monitoring mechanism to prevent Hamas from using it to build infiltration tunnels.
Israel imposed many of the restrictions in 2007, after Hamas ousted its rival Palestinian party, Fatah from Gaza and took over the area in a bloody coup.
“Our Palestinian neighbors in Gaza are held captive by Hamas, they deserve a better and safe life,” said Rivlin.
Disarming Hamas, he said, would improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians, he added.
“I believe there is no contradiction between assuring the security of Israel and the improvement of life in Gaza,” Rivlin said.
Turning to Ban he said that Israel regarded him as a friend and one would could help renew the peace process.
During the visit, Ban wrote a message in the presidential guest book, which said, “Israel is an important member state of the U.N. and I am committed to work together with Israel for peace, development and human rights as enshrined in the UN charter."