UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Gaza Strip on Tuesday 28 June, his fourth visit to the war ravaged and impoverished coastal enclave during his ten year period as Secretary-General. He also pointed out that the devastating blockade of Gaza has continued for ten years.
“I have personally witnessed the ravages of war and have been profoundly moved by the resilience and determination of the Palestinian people. We can help rebuild houses. But can we rebuild lives? Can we help those who have suffered the terror of war deal with the deep scars that violence leaves behind? Can we ensure that accountability is upheld and the victims of conflict feel a profound sense of justice? Can we create jobs and prosperity so that peace is sustainable? My answer is yes”, Ban told a large press conference at UNRWA's (the United Nations Work and Relief Agency) school compound in Zeytoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Mr. Ban separately addressed UN and UNRWA staff in Gaza, saying: “Dear colleagues, I have six months to go but I will give my best efforts, time and energy, until the very last moment of my mandate to work for a better life for the Palestinian people. Gaza will always take a special place in my heart.”
The UN Secretary-General met with young members of UNRWA's School Parliament in Central Gaza. The students told Mr. Ban about their aspirations, but also about their fears for the future. After listening to the students, Mr. Ban said: “The environment you are living in may be very, very hard and difficult. You may not have electricity, you may not have water, you may not have textbooks. At the same time, I know that you are hungry for learning, you are thirsty for better knowledge and more knowledge and a better future.”