24 December 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced concern about the escalating violence in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, and called for maximum restraint by all parties to prevent further bloodshed.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban condemned the killing of an Israeli civilian today as a result of cross-border fire from Gaza, and the bus bombing near Tel Aviv on Sunday.
He also deplored the death of a young child in Gaza from Israeli retaliatory raids today as well as a number of Palestinian civilian casualties since Friday.
“The Secretary-General rejects all actions targeting civilians and calls on all concerned to exert maximum restraint to prevent another cycle of bloodshed,” said his spokesperson.
“It is also essential to preserve the ceasefire understanding of November 2012 and restore calm,” he added, referring to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement that brought an end to the cycle of violence that erupted last year between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, which controls Gaza.
“The Secretary-General,” the spokesperson added, “continues to emphasize the need for the Israeli and Palestinian sides to remain steadfast in their commitment to achieving the two-State solution in order to end the violence permanently.”
Following a three-year hiatus, Israelis and Palestinians resumed direct negotiations this past August, thanks to the efforts of United States Secretary of State John Kerry. Senior United Nations officials, including Mr. Ban, have stressed the importance of giving the resumed peace talks a chance to bear fruit and for both sides to avoid actions that might undermine efforts to achieve a political solution to this long-standing conflict.
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