Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.


**Questions and Answers


Question:  Any reaction of the Secretary-General to the escalation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in Gaza and the West Bank as well?  Has he contacted any members of the Quartet to ask (inaudible)?

Spokesperson:  I was asked the question earlier.  The Secretary-General has expressed his concern at the reported killing of civilians in IDF military operations in Gaza and he has reiterated his call for full respect by the IDF of international humanitarian law so that risks to civilians are minimized.  He also reiterates his call for an immediate cessation of rocket fire into Gaza from Israel, and he calls on all parties to refrain from actions which endanger civilians.  This is what we have. 


Question:  Regarding Gaza, when you say he wants the cessation of rocket launching, why does the Secretary-General not call for the cessation of targeted killing of fighters in Gaza?

Spokesperson:  He calls for respect of…  If you read both paragraphs…

Correspondent:  It sounds like it’s okay to kill militants but not civilians.  This is what I understood.

Spokesperson:  I think he’s talking about human lives.

Question:  If you read it again…

Spokesperson:  As an Organization, of course, we defend the rights of civilians.

Correspondent:  Because every time there is an arranged ceasefire in Gaza, it is Israel that initiates what they call targeted killings of Palestinians that are represented by Hamas and that are represented by others.  These killings, it sounds as if they are justified in this statement, is what I believe. 

Spokesperson:  It’s not what he said.  What the statement said is that he’s concerned about civilian lives.  That’s what he says.


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For information media • not an official record