UN Chief Urges End To Fighting In Gaza

gazaUnited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Israel and the Palestinians to “stop fighting” and “start talking” to end the conflict in Gaza.

He was speaking in Israel as diplomatic efforts intensified.

More than 600 Palestinians and 30 Israelis have been killed in the past 14 days of fighting, officials say.

Earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry said a previous Egyptian plan should form the basis of a ceasefire.

Speaking in Egypt, Mr Kerry said the US was concerned about Palestinian casualties, but lent his support to Israel’s “appropriate and legitimate” military operation.

He also said the US was sending $47m (£28m) in aid to Gaza “to alleviate the immediate humanitarian crisis”.

Mr Kerry is expected to stay in Cairo until at least Wednesday for talks with Egyptian officials and the Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said they hoped the talks would lead to a ceasefire

At a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Ban urged Israel to exercise “maximum restraint”, adding that “military action will not increase Israeli security in the longer term”.

He called on the Palestinians to pursue a policy of “no violence, recognition of Israel and respect for previous agreements”.

Replying to Mr Ban’s opening comments, Mr Netanyahu asked: “What grievance can we resolve for Hamas? Their grievance is that we exist.”

The latest Palestinian death toll of more than 600 was announced by Gaza’s health ministry, which also said that 3,640 people had been injured.

The UN relief agency in Gaza says more than 100,000 Palestinians have taken refuge in its schools. It says 43% of Gaza has been affected by evacuation warnings or declared no-go zones.

The vast majority of the people killed in this conflict have been Palestinian civilians in Gaza. But Israeli military casualties are unexpectedly high – 28 soldiers killed so far. — BBC

 

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