29 June 2006 – A United Nations-sponsored international meeting aimed at advancing Middle East peace wrapped up its sessions last night with a call to Israel to halt its invasion of Gaza, withdraw from the Strip and stop escalating the current crisis. It also called on the Palestinians to end their rocket attacks on Israel.
Such actions put civilians in serious danger and inflame and destabilize the already fragile situation, according to the final document adopted by the meeting, convened in Vienna by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Participants, including UN representatives, internationally renowned experts from the region, parliamentarians, and members of the academic community and civil society, expressed particular concern at the recent upsurge in violence and its destructive effect on the hopes for peace.
The text condemned Israel’s intensified military strikes, incursions and extrajudicial assassinations.
Alarmed at the large number of Palestinian civilians killed in the last few weeks and believing that the escalation warranted an impartial international investigation, the meeting supported a request for Secretary-General Kofi Annan to facilitate such a probe.