UN chief demands end to Israeli-Palestinian fighting

Palestinian families travel to a UNRWA school to seek shelter after evacuating their homes near the border in Gaza City. UN Photo/shareef sarhan

13 July 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday voiced alarm that, despite the Security Council's clear demand for a ceasefire, the situation in and around the Gaza Strip appears to be worsening, with grave implications for the safety of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

“He strongly believes that it is in the interest of both sides that steps toward dangerous escalation be replaced with immediate measures to end the fighting, thus preventing further casualties and greater risks to regional peace and security,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban's spokesperson.

“He demands both sides move in this direction now.”

The statement went on to note that Hamas' indiscriminate firing of rockets against Israeli civilian targets is a violation of international law.

“The Secretary-General, abhorring the images of Israeli families hovering in shelters in fear for their children's safety, repeats his condemnation of Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza and demands an immediate cessation of these indecent attacks,” it stated.

“The Secretary-General is also deeply worried about the impact on Palestinian families of Israeli military action,” the statement said, adding that he feels “a sense of responsibility” for the Palestinians who, especially in the Gaza Strip, have long been denied the sense of freedom and dignity that they deserve.

“The Secretary-General does not believe that what is inherently a longstanding, serious political dispute between Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved via military means by either side. He remains engaged with both sides to urge de-escalation and an end to violence.”

Mr. Ban's call echoes that made yesterday by the Security Council which called for a de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire that ended eight days of violence in Gaza and Israel.


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Security Council calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, protection of civilians

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