WASHINGTON – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday said he was deeply concerned that a year after the outbreak of Operation Cast Lead "neither the issues that led to this conflict nor its worrying aftermath are being addressed."
"Very few of the key elements for stability, as identified in Security Council resolution 1860, have been implemented. While violence has been at lower levels this year, incidents continue and there is no durable ceasefire in place," Ban said in an official statement released on the one year anniversary of Israel's war with Hamas.
"The quality and quantity of humanitarian supplies entering Gaza is insufficient, broader economic and reconstruction activity is paralyzed, and the people of Gaza are denied basic human rights. Efforts are being made to combat illicit trafficking of weapons, but smuggling continues. Egypt has tirelessly worked for Palestinian unity, but without a breakthrough so far," the statement read.
According to the secretary-general, there is a "sense of hopelessness in Gaza today for 1.5 million Palestinians, half of whom are under eighteen. Their fate and the well-being of Israelis are intimately connected. "
Ban continued to say that a "fundamentally different" approach to Gaza is urgently required, and called on Israel to "end the unacceptable and counterproductive blockade of Gaza, facilitate economic activity and civilian reconstruction, and fully respect and uphold international law."
Addressing Hamas, the UN chief urged the Islamist group to "bring an end to violence and fully respect and uphold international law," and called on all Palestinians to "work for unity and elections within the framework of the legitimate Palestinian Authority."
In conclusion, Ban said, "Today’s anniversary is a reminder of the bitter consequences of the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to which there is and can be no military solution.
"The urgent priority of all Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the region, and the international community as a whole must be the achievement of a two State solution," he said."