Question of Palestine home
22 July 2014
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
TUESDAY, 22 JULY 2014
BRIEFING SECURITY COUNCIL FROM RAMALLAH, SECRETARY-GENERAL VOICES HOPE THAT FIGHTING WILL END SOON
The Secretary-General briefed the Security Council on the Middle East this morning from Ramallah, the fifth stop on a journey that has so far included Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Israel. He will continue on to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and other countries as needed.
He mentioned the recent discussions on the way forward and added that it is his hope and belief that these talks will lead to results and an end to the fighting in the very near future.
He stressed his pride in his many UN colleagues, with the UN Relief and Works Agency (
) in the lead, who have courageously assisted the people of Gaza under such difficult circumstances.
He warned that the escalation of violence is now acutely affecting the Relief and Works Agency’s regular operations. A total of 23 UNRWA installations are closed as a result of the conflict. A total of 77 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June as a result of the conflict. He said that the premises have been used to store weapons, which he called unacceptable. Today, about 100,000 people – more than 5 percent of the population of Gaza – are seeking shelter with UNRWA.
The Secretary-General told the Security Council that the parties must heed the Security Council’s call to return to negotiations in order to find an end to this conflict through a viable two-state solution.
Asked how the peace efforts are going, the Spokesman noted the increase in the momentum of efforts by the Secretary-General and others to push for a ceasefire.
Asked whether he would visit Gaza, Haq said that the Secretary-General’s travel plans have been changing rapidly and he declined to comment on what his future travels might be.
Asked about an attack on Al Jazeera reporters, he noted the consistent position of the United Nations that journalists have the right to go about their work without hindrance. At the same time, he noted the overall violence in Gaza and the need for a halt to all fighting.
In response to a question on attacks on children in Gaza, Haq said that, as of this morning, the crisis in Gaza has seen at least 582 Palestinians killed, including 145 children, while more than 100,000 people are displaced in 69 UNRWA schools, according to information received by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
IN ISRAEL, SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS PRESIDENT, REPEATS CALL FOR UNCONDITIONAL CEASEFIRE
Before visiting Ramallah, the Secretary-General was in Tel Aviv where he met earlier today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a
joint press encounter
with the Prime Minister, the Secretary-General said that the United Nations strongly condemns rocket attacks against Israel and he warned against the use of civilian sites for military purposes. He said he full shares Israel’s right to defend its citizens, but called once more for maximum restraint. He said his message to Israelis and Palestinians remains the same: Stop fighting, start talking and address the root causes of the conflict.
, the Secretary-General updated Prime Minister Netanyahu on his recent contacts in the region, including with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. The Secretary-General reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire, without conditions. He stressed the need to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. Once a cease-fire is in place, the Secretary-General underscored the immediate need to address the underlying issues. They agreed to remain in close touch and may meet again tomorrow before the Secretary-General leaves for Jordan.
Before leaving Cairo this morning, the Secretary-General
with the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al Sisi. The Secretary-General thanked the President for his leadership role in the current efforts to establish a cease-fire in Gaza. They both agreed on the need for an intensified concerted international effort to stop the fighting urgently and also focus on the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Yesterday, the Secretary-General held separate meetings with the
Egyptian Foreign Minister
US Secretary of State John Kerry