President Rivlin: “The lifting of the restrictions can only take place after the Palestinian leadership, and the international community, find a way to dismantle the terrorist capabilities of Hamas, and ensure that Israeli citizens will be able to live in safety.”
Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon
(Communicated by the Office of the President)
For the first time as head of state, President Reuven Rivlin held this afternoon (Monday 13 October 2014) a working meeting with UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-moon, within the framework of the Secretary General’s visit to the region. Before the meeting, both made statements regarding the International Conference on Gaza Reconstruction attended by the Secretary General, as well as the general security situation.
In addition, during their meeting, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, invited President Rivlin to address the United Nations Special General Assembly Session in New York, to mark International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27, 2015.
President Rivlin said, “The rehabilitation of Gaza is an Israeli interest as much as a Palestinian one. Our Palestinian neighbors in Gaza are held captive by Hamas. They deserve safety and a better life.
“All will agree that any solution should include the core issues. We must not return to the status-quo pre-"Protective Edge". Israel cannot tolerate a situation, in which Hamas is targeting Israeli civilians, and expanding its terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.”
President Rivlin expressed to the Secretary General that “We as Israelis understand, that a solution must be found regarding the closure of the Gaza Strip. Over one and a half million Palestinians cannot continue to live under such conditions. We are not blind to the difficulties which they face. Having said that, the lifting of such restrictions can only take place after the Palestinian leadership, and the international community, find a way to dismantle the terrorist capabilities of Hamas, and ensure that Israeli citizens will be able to live in safety."
He added, “Secretary General, Israel regards you as a friend, whose high moral standing is well-known around the world, as one who can help in the achievement of a solution for Gaza and the renewal of the Peace Process.”
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon thanked the President and said, “While I am relieved that the ceasefire in Gaza is largely holding, there is much work ahead. Gaza needs to be rebuilt, repaired and healed. I am confident that President Rivlin shares my belief in the need to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike. Economic revival can change the dynamics on the ground and ultimately enhance stability. Israel has taken steps in the right direction, easing restrictions on movement and trade and this is positive, and we hope to see further steps in this direction. More cooperation will benefit both sides.”
On the peace process he said, “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.
The Secretary General concluded by saying, “It is a great honor to be in Israel and the region. I look forward to your leadership and to advancing peace, development and human rights for all.”