Palestinians attack convoy of UN chief in Gaza

Dozens of youth throw stones, sticks, shoes at UN chief's convoy as it crosses into Gaza; none hurt.

Convoy of UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Gaza 390 (photo credit: Yoni Reif)
Convoy of UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Gaza 390
(photo credit: Yoni Reif)
Dozens of Palestinians threw shoes, sticks and stones at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's convoy as it crossed into the Gaza Strip on Thursday, protesting against what they saw as a slight against Palestinians jailed in Israel.
No one was injured during the hostile welcome and the vehicles, which entered the Hamas-ruled territory from southern Israel through the Erez crossing, pushed through the crowd and sped away.
Ban is visiting the region to try to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. He will also arrive in the city of Khan Younis and give a press conference there, according to Palestinian Ma'an news agency. Later on Thursday he is scheduled to visit the United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters.
Many of those who protested as the UN convoy passed were family members of Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons. They hit the vehicles with signs bearing slogans accusing Ban of bias towards Israel and of refusing to meet the relatives of Palestinian prisoners.
Approximately 5,000 Palestinians are held in Israeli jails and securing their release is a highly emotive issue in Palestinian society.
Earlier this week, Ban held talks with high level Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Upon completion of his visit to the Gaza Strip Thursday, Ban is scheduled to visit the Sapir Academic College near Sderot, which has been the target of numerous Kassam rockets from Gaza. He will then hold meetings with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni, and deliver the keynote address at the 12th annual Herzliya Conference.