|UN’s Middle East envoy and top rights official deplore Jerusalem bomb attack
4 March - The senior United Nations Middle East envoy and the Organization’s top human rights official have strongly condemned Saturday’s fatal bomb attack in Jerusalem.
In separate statements issued, respectively, in Gaza and Bahrain, Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, also called for a comprehensive approach to resolving the conflict peacefully.
Distressed by the heavy loss of civilian lives in the bombing – which reportedly killed 9 Israeli civilians and injured some 50 others – Mr. Roed-Larsen emphasized that the UN stood “four-square against terrorism, no matter what purpose it is stated to achieve.”
In his reaction, issued on Sunday, the envoy expressed concern over the mounting death toll on both sides, and repeated the call by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the Israeli Defence Forces to withdraw from refugee camps in Palestinian towns. Mr. Roed-Larsen warned that the parties were “sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire of death and counter-death.” Stressing that there was no military solution to the conflict, he called on both sides to “stop this bloodshed, this killing that achieves nothing” and refocus efforts towards achieving a negotiated solution.
“Only through comprehensive approaches that encompass political, economic and security issues can the grave dynamics of the present situation be altered, calm restored and the right atmosphere for the resumption of sustainable peace talks created,” he said.
For her part, Mrs. Robinson said she had learned with “shock and horror” of the latest bombing, noting that among those killed were two babies and a 10-year old boy “caught in the tragic cycle of violence that is worsening in the region.” She underscored the futility of seeking progress through violence, saying that suicide bombings in Israel “harm the interests and aspirations of the Palestinian people because they undermine support for the cause of self-determination and the fight against occupation.”
“I call with great urgency on the leaders of the region to show the necessary political will and courage to bring the violence to an end,” Mrs. Robinson said in the statement, which was released on Sunday. She called on the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority to provide a “political way forward.”
“My thoughts today are with the families of the victims of these recent depressing events and, more than ever, of the urgent imperative of resolving the protracted conflict between two neighbouring peoples,” she said.