On the heels of last week’s visit to Gaza, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council on Tuesday that promises made at a recent donor conference on rebuilding the war-ravaged enclave must “quickly materialize” into concrete assistance on the ground, especially as winter approaches, UN News Center reported.
“Nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed in Gaza. I saw mile after mile of wholesale destruction, ” Ban recalled as he briefed the 15-member body on his first visit to Gaza since this past summer’s conflict.
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Ban commended donors’ efforts, which he said “surpassed expectations, ” with pledges from some 50 countries amounting to $5.4 billion.
A Reuters story on Tuesday noted that while Palestinian officials rejoiced at $5.4 billion pledged at the international aid conference last week, toward reconstruction and shoring up their budget, many in Gaza fear that, as was the case after past wars with Israel, not all the money will materialize.
As it stands now, more than 100, 000 residents of Gaza remain homeless with over 50, 000 still sheltering in UN run school buildings. Many still lack access to the municipal water network. Blackouts of up to 18 hours per day are common.
“The clock is ticking. $414 million is immediately needed for humanitarian relief, $1.2 billion for early recovery needs and $2.4 billion for reconstruction efforts, ” Ban said.
While in Gaza, the Secretary-General visited a UN-supervised school in the Jabalia refugee camp, which was shelled during the hostilities.
“I met a young man whose brothers and sisters perished in the blasts. He is now confined to a wheelchair having lost his legs, ” he recalled.
“Israelis also suffered during the conflict, ” Ban said. “I traveled to a kibbutz where I met the grieving family of a four-year-old child named Daniel who was killed by a Hamas rocket – another innocent victim of this mindless conflict.”
He reiterated that firing rockets is unacceptable, “because they have brought nothing but suffering.”
And if shooting rockets on innocent Israelis brought results they’d be OK? Strange slip…
During his visit, the UN chief said he also visited a tunnel built by Hamas to launch attacks.
“I fully understand the security threat to Israel from rockets above and tunnels below. At the same time, the scale of the destruction in Gaza has left deep questions about proportionality.”
For the record, there is absolutely no discussion of proportionality in international law. Perhaps this would start a call for higher Jewish casualties as a means to bring justice to the Middle East…