U.N. Secretary-General visits southern Israel & Gaza Strip
• UN Chief: The build-destroy, build-destroy cycle in Gaza must be broken
• UN Chief tours Hamas’ terror tunnel near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, calls threats posed by rockets & tunnels “not acceptable.”
Ban visited southern Israel and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and told both sides what they wanted to hear. After meeting in Gaza with members of the Palestinian unity government, Ban said, “I am here with a very heavy heart. The destruction which I have seen coming here is beyond description. This is much more serious destruction than I saw in 2009 immediately after the violence at that time.”
Speaking at a press conference in Gaza on Tuesday afternoon, Ban said, “I met so many of the beautiful children of Gaza. More than 500 were killed during the conflict — many more were wounded. What have they done wrong? Being born in Gaza is not a crime.”
“There can be no peace in the Middle East, no security for Israel, while the crisis in Gaza festers,” Ban said. “The build-destroy, build-destroy cycle must be broken.”
Later on Tuesday, Ban visited Kibbutz Nirim, near the Gaza border. After meeting with the family of Daniel Tragerman, the 4-year-old boy killed in Nahal Oz by a mortal shell during Operation Protective Edge, Ban said, “What has he done wrong? Why has he to die? Even without knowing anything, even without being able to grow up. This is very sad.”
Ban vowed to southern Israel residents that the $5.4 billion dollars pledged to Gaza reconstruction at the international donors conference in Cairo on Sunday would not be used by Hamas to fund terrorist activities.
Israeli government officials showed Ban the opening to a tunnel near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha that was used by terrorists from Gaza.
“I was shocked and alarmed by the underground tunnels,” Ban said. “It is not acceptable. No one should live under constant threat or fear of these rockets or the penetrating underground tunnels.”
Also on Tuesday, Israel allowed the first shipment of construction materials to enter Gaza since Operation Protective Edge ended in late August. Israel called the move a “pilot” initiative, as it is still wary that building materials could be used by Hamas to rebuild its military infrastructure. The U.N. is monitoring the use of construction materials that enter Gaza from Israel, to ensure the materials are not diverted for Hamas military purposes.
Raed Fattouh, the Palestinian Authority coordinator for imports to Gaza, said 75 trucks of cement, aggregates and metal supplies were entering Gaza — double the daily average in 2013.
The IDF also says that in the coming weeks it will permit Gaza farmers to sell produce to the West Bank for the first time since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=20753