UN urges parties to address root cause of Gaza conflict

Israel/Gaza air strike

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, on Sunday in Cairo, urged all parties to last summer’s war in Gaza to address the root causes of the conflict.

He said doing so would help in preventing the “cycle of building and destroying”.

A statement issued by Ban’s Spokesperson, Stephane DuJarric, in New York, quoted him as making the call in a remark to the Cairo Conference on Gaza.

It said the conference was attended by the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, and several foreign ministers including of Egypt and Norway.

“The successful reconstruction of Gaza requires a strong political foundation,” said Ban adding that “the comprehensive reconciliation agreement reached in Cairo on Sept. 25, was a promising first step.”

Ban pledged UN support for the Government of National Consensus as it manages Gaza’s reconstruction needs.

He said he was encouraged by the recent historic Palestinian unity government meeting in Gaza led by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

“Promoting an environment conducive for peace must include an investigation into potential violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.

“It is equally important to make the most of the opportunity presented by the upcoming Cairo talks, strengthen the ceasefire to return to broader peace talks.

“It is also imperative to refrain from unilateral actions which only exacerbate tensions and resentment. Gaza remains a tinderbox,” said Ban.

Ban said all parties must come together to chart a clear course towards a just and final peace.

He said the parties should also aspire to achieve a full lifting of the blockade, ensuring Israel’s legitimate security concerns, and establishing two states living side by side in peace and security.

“I do not want my successors or yours to make conferences such as this a ritual: building and destroying– and then expecting the international community to foot the bill,” the Secretary-General said.

Ban recalled that no fewer than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the recent 51-day conflict, along with no fewer than 70 Israelis.

Almost one-third of Gaza’s population, he said, was uprooted from their homes and entire neighbourhoods were flattened.

The Secretary-General recalled how in 2009, the international community gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh in the wake of another devastating war in Gaza.

“We pledged our support. We expressed our commitment. We resolved to rebuild. And yet here we are again.

“The cycle of building and destroying has continued– only worse,” said Ban.

The “UN Support Plan for the Transformation of the Gaza Strip” amounts to about 2.1 billion dollars for early recovery and reconstruction efforts.

The UN Chief will visit Gaza on Tuesday to help advance reconstruction efforts.

The UN said dozens of schools, hospitals and clinics were either destroyed or damaged during the last conflict.

The UN facilities sheltering women and children were hit, resulting in many casualties while 11 staff members of the UN were killed in the course of the conflict.


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