In an Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting on Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that to achieve sustainable peace in the Middle East, all deliberations must focus on tackling the "root causes of the crisis."
"Any peace effort that does not tackle the root causes of the crisis will do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence," Ban said.
He added that although the situation with Israel and Palestine is tense, the United Nations is prepared to assist any efforts geared towards addressing key issues and cultivating a much-needed sense of trust between the two sides.
The AHLC meeting comes after an Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, which Ban said could serve as a foundation for a legitimate political process to achieve sustainable peace, ended the seven-week Israeli offensive on Gaza.
Ban said that Gaza must become accessible to allow for necessary reconstruction in the aftermath of the offensive, which resulted in 2,133 casualties on the Palestinian side and 68 on the Israeli side. The assault also resulted in the severe damage or complete destruction of 44,000 housing units and 141 schools, in addition to the closure of 29 hospitals.
Shelter Cluster, an international organisation involved in assessing post-conflict reconstruction, said in late August that it will take 20 years under current levels of restrictions to rebuild the Gaza Strip's battered and neglected housing stock, AP reported.
"The current situation in Gaza is dire, with many people still displaced, unprecedented damage to social and economic infrastructure, and critical shortages of water and energy," Ban said, adding, "The cycle of building and destroying must end. It is time for sustainable, transformational change in the Gaza Strip."
Ban also said that the planned reconstruction conference to take place in Cairo on 12 October will allow Palestine and Israel to negotiate Palestinian economic development and sustainability, while also returning to negotiations on a two-state solution. He said that both Israeli and Palestinian concerns and aspirations must be addressed, including ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and establishing an independent State of Palestine to coexist with Israel in peace.