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Les Palestiniens, principales victimes de la recrudescence de la violence, affirme Ibrahim Gambari - Centre d'actualités de l'ONU Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
United Nations News Service (See also > DPI)
21 June 2006

With ‘serious deterioration’ in the Middle East, UN official calls for restraint

21 June 2006 Detailing what he called “serious deteriorations on the ground” in the Middle East, including intra-Palestinian violence and increased rocket exchanges between militants and Israel – both of which resulted in numerous civilian deaths in Gaza – a senior United Nations official today called for restraint, respect for humanitarian law and a return to negotiations by all parties.

“All acts of violence, especially those that either endanger or target civilians must cease, and negotiations toward a comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict must not be further delayed,” Ibrahim Gambari, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council in his monthly briefing to the 15-member body.

At least 64 Palestinians were killed, including at least 11 children, over the past month, Mr. Gambari said, mostly from Israeli-Palestinian violence but also from intra-Palestinian fighting.

Israel stepped up its targeted killings of militants and shelling of areas in Gaza, from which rockets continue to be fired at Israeli territory, and, on 29 May, Israeli ground troops entered the territory for the first time since the Gaza withdrawal, he reported. Responsibility for the 9 June explosion that killed seven members of a family on a Gaza beach is still in dispute.

During the reporting period, one Israeli was killed in the conflict and the UN recorded 176 rockets fired by Palestinian militants toward Israel, injuring five civilians. For the first time in a year, Hamas claimed responsibility for some of those attacks, he said.

Clashes between militias loyal to the newly dominant militant Hamas party and the Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas led to the killing of local Palestinian leaders and claimed the lives of many bystanders, including women and children, Mr. Gambari added.

“Restraint by all parties is all the more important given the faint rays of hope that we have seen in recent days,” he said, citing inter-Palestinian dialogue and agreements not to escalate to levels of violence from which it would be difficult to pull back.

He encouraged all Palestinian parties to “leave no stone unturned” in efforts to ensure the harmonious operation of security forces and to achieve consensus of a political programme “that responds to the Palestinian people’s desire for a peacefully-negotiated two-State solution.”

He also voiced opposition to Israel’s policy of targeted killings, which yesterday resulted in the death of three children. “We would like to once again underscore the need for Israel to cease targeted killings, which continue to claim civilian lives,” he said, reiterating the Secretary-General’s view that “Israeli actions should be proportionate and in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

The Under-Secretary-General said he looked forward to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meeting with President Abbas, for which there may be an opportunity tomorrow, in Petra, Jordan.

In another positive development, Mr. Gambari said there was growing acceptance of the temporary mechanism developed by the European Union to facilitate international assistance directly to the Palestinian people, bypassing Hamas, which has yet to renounce violence.

He called on donors, other international organizations and Israel – bearing in mind its responsibilities – to support the mechanism, so that it can become operational quickly and effectively and avert the increasing economic crisis in the Palestinian territories.

The greatest hope for the future, he said, comes from the fact that, despite the continuing violence, opinion polls continue to show the desire of both Israelis and Palestinians for a negotiated two-State solution.

He pledged that such a solution would continue to be the priority of the UN, declaring: “There is no alternative.”

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