GAZA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) — United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said here on Wednesday that he dreams to see the Gaza Strip part of one sovereign Palestinian state.
“I dream of seeing a Palestinian state live in peace and security side by side with Israel, and I dream to see Gaza as part of one sovereign Palestinian state,” Guterres told a news briefing at one of the UN schools in northern Gaza.
Guterres and his convoy of UN vehicles entered Gaza through the Erez border crossing between the northern tip of the blockaded coastal enclave and Israel.
“We call on the international community to provide the needed humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip,” he said. “The internal Palestinian split destroys the Palestinian people cause.”
Guterres called for removing all obstacles to establish a Palestinian state, and stressed the importance of resolving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
“But Gaza’s problems are not only humanitarian, also political,” he warned.
Earlier, dozens of Palestinians, including family members and relatives of prisoners held in Israeli prisons, intercepted the convoy of the UN chief in northern Gaza.
When the convoy passed a Hamas-controlled checkpoint, relatives of Palestinian prisoners intercepted it and demonstrated before the convoy continued heading to the Gaza city.
The banners they held read: “Where are the rights of our prisoners? The rights of our prisoners are violated on daily basis.”
The demonstrators also called on Guterres “to intervene and put pressure on the Israeli occupation to stop its violations and crimes against” the Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
They also condemned what they termed the silence of the UN toward what is happening in the Gaza Strip for more than ten years.
Moreover, dozens also demonstrated outside the UN school Guterres toured in northern Gaza.
Meanwhile, the Gaza-based Palestinian Council for Foreign Relations said in an e-mailed press statement that the council condemns the inattention of the UN secretary general to the suffering of more than 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza.
“This inattention violates the simplest principles and goals of the United Nations,” the council said. “We call on the UN secretary general to make a real visit and a real tour to Gaza and see the deep suffering of the people.”
The Portuguese UN chief is not scheduled to meet with any of Islamic Hamas leaders, who have been ruling Gaza since their movement violently seized control of the territory in June 2007.
A day earlier, Ahmed Bahar, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, or parliament, said Guterres’ visit to Gaza is “unwelcome,” because he expressed solidarity with Israeli hostages and neglected thousands of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails.
But later, Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman in Gaza said in a press statement that Guterres’ visit to Gaza is “welcome,” after the UN chief paid a visit to the families of the Palestinian prisoners during his tour in West Bank.
Guterres also met with three refugee families from the Gaza Strip and listened to them over the situation in the coastal enclave.
“He has to help end the Israeli blockade and rescue the deteriorating humanitarian situation,” Barhoum said.
Local UN officials said Guterres will visit the UN headquarters in the Gaza city and get a briefing from UN officials on the situation in Gaza.
He will tour Gaza and meet with Palestinian notables and the leaders of the clans in the enclave.
Guterres arrived in Israel on Monday and held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Tuesday, he visited the West Bank city of Ramallah and held talks with Prime Minister of the Palestinian consensus government Rami Hamdallah.