UN Chief: This is the Last Time We'll Rebuild Gaza

Ban Ki-moon says the UN is ready to help rebuild Gaza but it would be “the last time”.

Elad Benari ,

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations (UN) chief Ban Ki-moon declared on Wednesday that the organization is ready to help rebuild Gaza but it would be “the last time”.

Ban opened a special meeting of the United Nations General Assembly with an appeal for a lasting peace as a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was holding for a second day.

"The senseless cycle of suffering in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in Israel must end," he was quoted by AFP as having told the 193-nation assembly.

After three wars in Gaza in six years, the UN secretary general warned that the world's patience with the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs was being tested.

"Do we have to continue like this -- build, destroy, and build and destroy?" Ban asked.

"We will build again but this must be the last time -- to rebuild. This must stop now," he declared.

UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry said the destruction and death toll from the latest fighting was worse than the 2008-2009 conflict.

The UN General Assembly was convened at the request of Arab countries, who have criticized the Security Council for failing to adopt a strongly-worded resolution to press Israel and Hamas to stop.

Jordan has circulated a draft resolution in the Security Council calling for a ceasefire, a lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and an investigation of attacks on UN-run schools, used as shelters by civilians.

The document has yet to come up for a vote, noted AFP.

The 15-member Council adopted a statement on July 27 calling for a ceasefire and expressing support for Egypt's mediation efforts after the United States dropped reservations that such a text would single out Israel.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ban accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza. Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor responded by sharply criticizing the UN and Ban.

"If the UN assembly had invested a tenth of the energy invested in investigating Israel, it would reveal horrific war crimes on the part of Hamas," Prosor fired.

"The international community has lost its way," he continued. "This organization was founded to promote morality, truth and justice. Unfortunately, that is not its mission now."