UN chief visits Gaza; Hamas demands lifting of Israeli-Egyptian blockade

A woman looks at posters during a media tour ahead of the'Jerusalem Lives exhibition

A woman looks at posters during a media tour ahead of the'Jerusalem Lives exhibition

"The prisoners' families demanded that the UN secretary-general act in a serious and concrete manner to save the lives of more than 6,500 Palestinian prisoners and female prisoners sitting in the Israeli occupation's prisons from the grave violations that the [Israeli] occupation Prison Service perpetrates against them, such as medical neglect, administrative detentions, and the arrest of women, children, and parliament members".

They urged the UN Secretary General to intervene and put pressure on the Israel to stop crimes against the Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

"I want to express very strongly the total commitment of the United Nations and my personal total commitment to the two-state solution", Guterres said after meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah, after having spoken with Israeli leadership the day before.

He later said it was "important to open the closures", in a reference to Israel's decade-long blockade of Gaza and to the border with Egypt that has remained largely closed in recent years.

He then called on the international community to firmly support humanitarian aid to Gaza, underscoring that the solution to its problems is not of a humanitarian nature and instead depends on the unity of the Palestinian population and the implementation of the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The UN has "failed" its mandate to promote peace and security when it comes to Israel, its cultural agency UNESCO "makes a mockery" of world heritage by passing resolutions airbrushing Jewish history from Jerusalem, some UN institutions allow Palestinian hate speech to "flourish", and Israel is targeted on human rights issues by countries with bad human rights records.

As a former prime minister of Portugal, Guterres is no doubt a skilled politician; but his performance at the press conference was possibly one of the highlights of his diplomatic career.

Israeli security thwarted 1,226 attempts to smuggle contraband into Gaza in 2016 - a 165% increase from 2015.

Making this second appeal, Guterres underscored the importance of a credible political process and actions to improve living conditions of Palestinians.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, welcomed the trip, calling it an "important visit", but small demonstrations also occurred.

A military wing of Hamas during a rally at a refugee camp in Gaza Strip.

The White House refused to take a side Tuesday after Netanyahu's declaration at the Barkan settlement.

The two leaders are expected to meet in late September in New York when they travel there to address the UN General Assembly. Israel began construction of an underground anti-tunnel barrier along the border last year.

Haley had said the 10,500-strong UNIFIL force was "not doing its job effectively" and singled out its Irish leader, Major General Michael Beary, according to the Times of Israel report.

Is Guterres the kind of person who just can't say no? "That to me is astonishing". "That's an embarrassing lack of understanding on what's going on around him", she said. This claim, however, is contradicted by history.

Lost in the news media coverage of eastern Jerusalem is that major swaths of land there are legally owned by Jews. It was indeed a time for telling off the U.N. The Iranian backed terror organization has rapidly expanded its operations and has sent multitudes of highly trained combatants to Syria and Iraq as well as backing rebels in Yemen.

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