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UN chief Ban urges cease fire in Israeli-Palestinian violence

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On Sunday in New York City in a statement released by his spokesman, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the leaders of Israel and on the leaders the Palestinian people in Gaza to end the week-long continuing violence in the region which according to ABC News as of Monday has left over 170 Palestinians dead and another 1,300 injured.

According to a UN report released on Sunday, 80% of the Palestinian casualties have been civilians, ABC News noted.

As of Monday there have been no Israeli casualties despite repeated Palestinian rocket attacks into civilian areas of Israel due to Israel’s highly effective missile defense system.

Secretary-General Ban’s statement noted, “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.”

However, the statement also remarked, “The Secretary-General is also deeply worried about the impact on Palestinian families of Israeli military action. Too many Palestinian civilians have been killed, and any Israeli ground offensive will undoubtedly increase the death toll and exacerbate civilian suffering in the Gaza Strip.”

Ban’s statement concluded by exclaiming that military action by either parties will not resolve their long-standing disagreements, calling instead for “Israeli and Palestinian families alike to feel a sense of peace and security, with trust in the other side, rather than fear, despair and hatred that characterize too much of the relationship in the current environment.”

In a statement on Friday from Geneva, Switzerland UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for both sides to halt the violence and meet their human rights obligations.

High Commissioner Pillay remarked,

“Israel, Hamas, and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have been down this road before, and it has led only to death, destruction, distrust and a painful prolongation of the conflict. This time around, once again, civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict. I urge all sides to steadfastly respect their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law to protect civilians."

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