Israel's siege on the Gaza Strip must be broken, Arab League chief Amr Mussa said on his first-ever trip to Israel-besieged the territory.
Arab League chief Amr Mussa on Sunday for his first visit reached the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing shortly before 10:00 am (0700 GMT) where he was welcomed by members of Gaza's ruling Hamas faction, as well as representatives of all Palestinian groups.
"This blockade, which we are all here to confront, must be broken and the position of the Arab League is clear," Mussa said at the Rafah border.
It was the first time Mussa, who heads the 22-member pan-Arab organisation, has visited the Israel-besieged coastal Strip since June 2007.
"Not only the Arabs, but the entire world should stand with the Palestinian people against the siege of Gaza and what is happening in the occupied territories, especially east Jerusalem," he said, referring to a surge in Jewish settlements.
The visit comes amid an international outcry over the Israeli bloodshed in a flotilla raid into Turkish ship that 9 Gaza Turk activists were killed.
Turkey demans international independent probe on the bloody attack in international waters and vows to follow the matter until the end.
Palestinian and Arab League officials said Moussa's visit was also aimed at giving momentum to reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah.
The Arab League chief's agenda includes Palestinian unity, Moussa said.
"Reconciliation is a necessity, and it needs willingness rather than the signing of documents. It is a policy and attitude which ends in agreement on all topics ... this willingness is what history is dependent on."
Moussa said he had been "eager to set foot on Palestinian land and meet Palestinians, regardless of their affiliation, because they all represent, particularly in Gaza, steadfastness in the face of the siege."
The official is scheduled to meet with leaders of Palestinian factions, as well as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh at the premier's home in the Ash-Shati refugee camp.
At a joint news conference with Moussa, Hamas Health Minister Basim Naeem said the visit indicated that the boycott between Gaza and the Arab nation was broken.
Naeem said Hamas also hoped the trip would be the start of a practical plan to lift the (Israeli) blockade of Gaza once and for all, in a complete and comprehensive way.
As Arab League Secretary-General, he had previously visited the Strip during the presidency of Yasser Arafat.
Several Gaza government ministers received Moussa upon his arrival in an Egyptian car escorted by Egyptian security, as he began a 12-hour tour of the coastal enclave, which include a visit to bereaved families, areas still in need of reconstruction after Israel's deadly attack that killed up to 1500 Gazans were killed. A UN report accuses Israel of war crimes over that offensive.