Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has lambasted the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that the “cycle of suffering” has “shocked and shamed the world”. Speaking on Wednesday, the UN chief demanded international help in rebuilding Gaza, a region that former US president Jimmy Carter described as “pulverized” in a recent comment piece for Foreign Policy.
"We will build again, but this must be the last time to rebuild," Ban told the UN assembly in New York. "This must stop now. They must go back to the negotiating table. We must spare no effort to turn the current calm into a durable cease-fire that addresses the underlying issues of the conflict: ending rocket fire from Gaza, weapons smuggling, opening the (Gaza) crossings, lifting the blockade and bringing Gaza back under one Palestinian government that accepts and adheres to the PLO commitments."
During the negotiations for a permanent cease-fire, which started in Cairo on Wednesday, the Israeli delegation made clear their demand for Hamas to disarm, a pre-requisite for Tel Aviv if they are to countenance the militant's request to end the blockade on the Strip, an border closure imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas took power in 2007.