The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
The Secretary-General welcomes the broadly observed 12-hour humanitarian pause. As the pause nears end, there are countless images of Gazans trying to return to their daily lives while taking care of their wounded and attending to their dead. These images make it clear that we owe to the people of both Israel and Gaza our renewed effort to consolidate this pause in fighting into a more sustainable ceasefire.
The Secretary-General therefore urgently appeals once again to all parties to declare a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza as a prelude to renewing a political process as the only way of achieving a durable peace. He strongly urges the parties to, at the very minimum, extend the pause expiring later today.
The Secretary-General reiterates that any peace effort that does not tackle the root causes of the crisis will do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence. The blockade of and the closure on Gaza must end; there must be security based on mutual recognition, and there must be a viable two-state solution by which Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in peace and security.