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14 July 2014
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ, DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
MONDAY, 14 JULY 2014
SECRETARY-GENERAL SOUNDS ALARM ON WORSENING GAZA STRIP SITUATION
issued yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General expressed alarm that, despite the Security Council's clear demand for a ceasefire, the situation in and around the Gaza Strip appears to be worsening, with grave implications for the safety of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. He strongly believes that it is in the interest of both sides that steps toward dangerous escalation be replaced with immediate measures to end the fighting, thus preventing further casualties and greater risks to regional peace and security. He demands both sides move in this direction now.
The Secretary-General does not believe that what is inherently a longstanding, serious political dispute between Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved via military means by either side. He remains engaged with both sides to urge de-escalation and an end to violence. It is time for Israeli and Palestinian families alike to feel a sense of peace and security, with trust in the other side, rather than fear, despair and hatred that characterize too much of the relationship in the current environment.
U.N. OFFICIAL SPOTLIGHTS GAZA VIOLENCE TOLL ON CIVILIANS
Pierre Krahenbuhl, the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) travelled to Gaza today, together with Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley, to directly observe the situation resulting from the widening military operations.
He told reporters that he was deeply alarmed and affected by the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip and the devastating human and physical toll it is taking on civilians, including Palestine refugees. He noted that at least 174 people had been killed and more than 1,100 wounded in the attacks.
Mr. Krahenbuhl added that, as a direct result of military operations, approximately 17,000 refugees have sought refuge in the Relief and Works Agency’s 20 schools in Gaza, with some being displaced to the very same classrooms for the third time in five years. He expressed worry that already, 47 UNRWA premises have been damaged by the air raids and other fire. He said that the inviolability of UN installations and premises must be respected, in accordance with international law.