United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Gaza by the Erez crossing on Tuesday morning, 28 June, where he visited the building site of the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limbs, which is scheduled to be built later this year. He was also briefed on other infrastructure projects funded by Qatar.
The Secretary-General and his delegation then went to the Zeytoun Preparatory Girls B School, run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). During the 2014 conflict, the school served as an emergency shelter hosting 3,000 internally displaced persons on average.
At the school, the Secretary-General met with a group of student representatives from United Nations run schools. Two girls and two boys told the Secretary-General of their life in Gaza. They shared with him their dreams and aspirations. He told them that, just as the United Nations had helped him with books and food more than 60 years ago in Korea, he would always be with them and for their better future.
In comments to the press upon arriving, the Secretary-General said that he stood with the people of Gaza and that the United Nations will always be with them. He told reporters that until Gaza and the West Bank are united under a single, democratic and legitimate Palestinian government, based on the rule of law and the PLO principles, Gaza’s prospects for full recovery will be limited.
Immediately afterwards, he spoke to more than 100 United Nations staff representing the many thousands who work in Gaza and said he was inspired by their courage.
He returned to Israel for an afternoon programme (see Press Release SG/T/3113), after which he travelled to Ramallah, where he met with President Mahmoud Abbas at the Muqata Palace. He attended an Iftar hosted by President Abbas, and was awarded The Grand Cordon of the State of Palestine. At a joint press conference with President Abbas later, the Secretary-General reiterated that “The two-state solution is the only viable option for sustainable peace in the region” and urged leaders in Gaza and the West Bank “to deliver to the Palestinian people, at long last, an end to the issues that divide them and a commitment to strengthening the ties that bind.”
The Secretary-General returned to Israel in the early evening, from where he returned to New York.