On Monday, following a visit to Ramallah, the Secretary-General travelled by car to Jerusalem where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In remarks to the press before their meeting, the Secretary-General expressed appreciation for the Prime Minister’s support for a temporary mechanism for the reconstruction of Gaza. He said that the status quo is not tenable. “It is clear that the sides must quickly return to the negotiation table with the readiness to make the tough but necessary compromises,” he said.
He made similar points prior to a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, saying that Israeli-Palestinian peace is necessary and urgent because it is the only route to securing long-denied Palestinian rights and to Israel’s lasting security.
Back at his hotel, the Secretary-General also met that day with Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog; with Quartet envoy Tony Blair, and with the Minister of Justice of Israel, Tzipi Livni.
On Tuesday, 13 October, following a visit to Gaza, the Secretary-General travelled to southern Israel. Accompanied by a senior Israel Defense Forces officer, the Secretary-General was shown a tunnel which he was told had been built by Hamas. He also received a briefing on the security situation in the area. Immediately afterwards, he visited the Ein Hash Losa kibbutz and met with about a dozen family members who were affected by rocket fire and tunnel activity from Gaza. At a brief press encounter, he thanked the Government of Israel for allowing him to see the underground tunnels. He used this last press opportunity in the region to repeat his message, that the “two parties should, must address, all the underlying issues to bring peace and harmony and security to the two peoples”. The Secretary-General also met with inhabitants ofKibbutz Nirim.
He then travelled to Tel Aviv, where he met with representatives from Interpeace, an independent, international peacebuilding organization. Mr. Ban departed Israel late on Tuesday evening and flew overnight to New York, where he arrived early on Wednesday morning, 15 October.