The United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has been visiting the Gaza Strip, where he expressed his solidarity with the Palestinians and condemned Israel’s ongoing blockade.
Mr Ban visited some of the hardest-hit areas of Gaza before inaugurating projects to build 150 homes, a flour mill and a sewage treatment plant.
But he says more reconstruction is needed, calling the projects a “drop in the bucket.”
“We are meeting here in Khan Younis because for nearly three years the United Nations has not been able to complete these housing projects,” he said.
“I have seen still many damaged houses. It is quite distressing for for me to see all damage still not being able to be reconstructed.”
Mr Ban says the blockade on the region – imposed nearly three years ago after the militant group Hamas seized power – causes unacceptable suffering and he has called for Gaza’s borders to be reopened.
Israel imposed the blockade to crush Hamas and prevent the use of imported materials to make weapons, but it prevents all but the most basic humanitarian supplies from getting in.
But Mr Ban says Israel’s policy of closure is unsustainable and wrong.
He has also stressed that Hamas too must change its policies, by renouncing violence and recognizing Israel.