by Andrew Friedman/TPS
Living conditions in the Gaza Strip constitute one of the most “dramatic humanitarian crises” in the word,” United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said during a visit to the area Wednesday.
Speaking in the coastal strip following a two-day stay in Israel, Guterres also spoke of his ongoing “dream” of a peaceful future for Israel and the Palestinians, while also calling for “unity” between Fatah and Hamas, the two main factions in Palestinian society today. He said the mutual animosity between Hamas-ruled Gaza and the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority “undermines the cause of the Palestinian people.”
“Allow me to repeat what I said yesterday in Ramallah, with many years of contact with this conflict, I have a dream. A dream to one day see the Holy Land with two states – Israel and Palestine – living in peace and security together, Guterres said.
Guterres’ visit to Gaza came on the heels of his meetings with Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah on Tuesday, where the secretary general denounced Israeli communities in Yehudah and Shomron as “illegal” and reiterated his call for an end to Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian land.
The Secretary General also called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, “living side-by- side with Israel in peace and security,” as well as for a renewed Israel-Palestinian political process to create improved conditions for Palestinian populations
“It is my deep belief that it is essential to restart a serious and credible political process of negotiation aiming at that objective – the two-state solution – as it is also important to create conditions on the ground to improve the situation of Palestinian populations,” Guterres said Tuesday at a press conference in Ramallah after meeting with PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
“A two-state solution that will end the occupation and, with the creation of conditions, also the suffering even to the Palestinian people, is in my opinion the only way to guarantee that peace is established and, at the same time, that two states can live together in security and in mutual recognition,” Guterres added.
Earlier Wednesday, Guterres toured the Gaza Belt region with Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, and visited a Hamas terror tunnel.