Bloomberg News

Palestinian Protesters Throw Shoes as UN’s Ban Enters Gaza

February 03, 2012

(Updates with comment from Ban in fourth paragraph.)

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Palestinian protesters threw shoes at the motorcade of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he entered the Gaza Strip, a UN spokesman said.

The protest by the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails took place today at the Erez checkpoint, where Ban crossed into the Hamas-controlled territory from Israel, spokesman Eduardo del Buey said by telephone. The UN chief wasn’t injured, he said.

Ban later visited a site in the southern city of Khan Yunis where Palestinians are trying to rebuild homes destroyed in Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip three years ago. The secretary-general has been meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week in a bid to restart peace negotiations.

“I know the talks are going high and low and I know also that the Palestinians are deeply despaired,” Ban said at a news conference in Khan Yunis. “I met many people who were waiting for me at the entrance and I fully share their fear and frustration. That is why I am here.”

Ban declined to meet with leaders of the Hamas government that governs Gaza. The Islamic group is considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and European Union.

The UN chief also called on Gaza militants to stop shooting rockets into Israel after seven were fired from the territory yesterday.

--Editors: Jennifer M. Freedman, Karl Maier

To contact the reporters on this story: Saud Abu Ramadan in Jerusalem at sramadan@bloomberg.net; Jonathan Ferziger in Tel Aviv at jferziger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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