On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the UN Secretary General said “this day reminds us of our collective, unfinished task of resolving the question of Palestine.”
In a statement, a copy of which sent to Days of Palestine, he said: “Over the decades, this has become one of the most intractable challenges for the international community, and we know only too well the tragic results.
“Demolitions, illegal continued settlement expansion and construction, forced evictions and collective punitive measures will not bring peace.”
He added: “Today, in particular, our hearts are heavy with the suffering of the people in Gaza, where approximately two million Palestinians remain blocked in increasing poverty and unemployment, with limited access to adequate health, education, water and electricity.”
Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been enduing a strict and illegal Israeli siege and was subject to several major onslaughts that claimed the lives of about 6,000 residents and wounded more than 100,000 others.
“Young people see little prospect of a better future,” he said. “I urge Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods, which also hamper the efforts of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies.”
Regarding protests of the Great March of Return, he said: “Israel has a responsibility to exercise maximum restraint and to not use lethal force, except as a last resort against imminent threat of death or serious injury.”
He concluded: “On this International Day of Solidarity, let us reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of the Palestinian people and to building a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”