UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on a several-hour visit to the Gaza Strip to check the status of the humanitarian situation, there, called for the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
He was reported to have said, “I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations,” He also said that it is“important to open the closures” imposed on the Strip.
According to the PNN, Guterres visited the main UN headquarters in Gaza City to receive a briefing from UN leaders on the situation in the region. He said that he is “very proud of the work that the UN staff specially in Gaza in support of the people of Gaza in these very difficult moments”. The UN chief’s visit comes as Gaza Strip faces a mounting humanitarian crisis in the form of an electricity shortage.
Though the tour in Gaza was set to include meetings with Palestinian notables and Gaza leaders, Hamas leadership said that Guterres was “unwelcome” in Gaza because, according to them, he expressed solidarity with Israeli hostages in Gaza and neglected Palestinians prisoners suffering in israeli prisons. Later, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, said the militant group “welcomes” Guterres and hopes he will work to end the Israeli blockade of the Strip.
Guterres was accompanied by Israel’s representative to the UN, Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, and Aviv Kochavi, Israel’s deputy military chief, as he visited a military operations room in the Kibbutz Nahal Oz settlement outpost, just outside of the Gaza Strip. Guterres met with jewish settlers of the area surrounding Gaza before heading to the territory.
Reportedly, when visiting, Ramallah, Guterres said that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the only viable option, after his meeting with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Guterres said that his dream is to see the Holy Land with two states – Israel and Palestine – living in peace together.
“Because of that, I have appealed for a credible political process in order to address the problems that exist, and to allow for the two-state solution to be implemented, removing the obstacles on the ground. At the same time, together with that political process, a program of action to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian people. It is important to open the closures, in line with resolution 1860 of the Security Council. It is important to avoid the buildup of the [militarism] that can undermine the confidence between the two people. ”
The UN chief’s statements came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed not to remove any Israeli settlements from the West Bank. “We returned here in order to stay here forever,” Netanyahu said on Monday.