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UN chief urges Israelis and the Palestinians to work towards peace

June 28, 2016 at 1:22 pm

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to lift its “suffocating” siege on the Gaza Strip today.

Speaking during a trip to the besieged coastal enclave, Ban called the Israeli blockade “collective punishment for which there must be accountability.”

“The closure of Gaza suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impede reconstruction effort, it is a collective punishment for which there must accountability.”

His remarks come a day after he visited both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories where he said: “Leaders on both sides need to urgently take concrete steps to restore hope and a political horizon so that the Israeli and Palestinian people see a pathway to peace, not a quagmire of recurring violence.”

“A better tomorrow also means a future free from violence,” he added.

The UN chief also warned of violent attacks against Israelis, saying they will not bring peace.

“Such acts are precisely designed to breed fear and uncertainty. They eat away at trust and hope, drive Palestinians and Israelis farther apart, and strip away a sense of empathy for one another,” he said.

Warning of the devastating impact of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian territories, Ban said: “Nearly 50 years of occupation has had a devastating impact on Palestinian lives, undermining the belief in a peaceful resolution to this conflict.”

“It also has not brought security for Israelis.”