United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) hugs wheelchair-bound Palestinian Mohammed Abed al-Dayem at a UN-run school in the northern Gaza Strip.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon called for the world to “spare no effort” in rebuilding Gaza and reviving the two-state solution in a press conference on Thursday, following the conclusion of his recent trip to the region.
Ban spent two days in Gaza as well as visited a kibbutz in the South. He commented that the level of destruction that he saw in Gaza was “much more serious than those in 2009.”
Ban also met with parents who lost children on both sides and noted that in Gaza “many people are homeless with winter approaching.”
To that end he called on donors to honor the $5.4 billion that was pledged at the recent Cairo Gaza reconstruction conference, and lauded the fact that while he was in Gaza, the first shipment of building materials under a UN-brokered treatise arrived.
“The Gaza situation is a symptom of a larger problem: the stalemate in the Middle East peace process,” Ban said.
“I know that trust has been eroded and unilateral actions look tempting. But the twostate solution is the only way to end the senseless cycle of war.”
But Ban also had some choice words directed at Israel: “I fully understand the security threat from rockets above and tunnels below,” Ban said. “At the same time, the scale of the destruction in Gaza has left deep questions about proportionality.”
When questioned about allegations that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had made as to the rockets found at UN schools, Ban said that he would not comment on diplomatic negotiations, and added that the UN was providing Israel with “all information” and that there had been several “long serious talks” between diplomats in New York and Jerusalem.