19 December 2008 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for an immediate end to rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza and all other violence, and a continuation of the Egyptian-brokered calm in the area.
“The Secretary-General is extremely concerned at statements calling into question the continuation of the Egyptian-brokered calm in and around Gaza,” spokesperson Marie Okabe told a news briefing in New York.
According to media reports, Hamas, which seized control of Gaza from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in 2006 and does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, has announced the end of the so-called calm with Israel that began in June.
“A major escalation of violence would have grave consequences for the protection of civilians in Israel and Gaza, the welfare of the Gazan civilian population, and the sustainability of political efforts,” Ms. Okabe said.
“We reiterate the appeal made yesterday by Special Coordinator Robert Serry, on behalf of the Secretary-General, that the calm should be respected and extended, rocket attacks against Israel must be immediately halted, and all acts of violence must cease,” she said, referring to Mr. Serry’s report to the Security Council in which he noted that 30 rocket attacks had been launched within two days on Israeli towns.
Israel has cited rocket and other attacks by militants as the reason for closing border crossings into Gaza for almost two months now. Mr. Ban has repeatedly called on Israel to urgently permit the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s 1.5 million civilians, who are suffering from severe shortages of many basic commodities, while at the same time condemning the rocket attacks.