Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv July 22, 2014. Photo: REUTERS

PM meets with UN chief Ban Ki-moon who urges Israel to “exercise maximum restraint”; condemns Hamas’ use of schools, hospitals to launch rockets.

No country would accept rockets raining down on its civilians, and all countries and parties have an international obligation to protect civilians, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
Ban, who arrived in Israel as part of his effort — together with US Secretary of State John Kerry — to broker a cease-fire, said at a press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the UN position was clear: “We condemn strongly the rocket attacks, and these must stop immediately.”

Furthermore, he said, “we condemn the use of civilian sites, schools, hospitals and other civilian facilities for military purposes.”

Ban did not say anything during his brief comments to the press about the status of efforts to forge a cease-fire.

The Secretary-General said his message to both Israelis and Palestinians was the same: “stop fighting, start talking, and take on the root causes of the conflict so we are not back in the same situation in another six months or a year.”

He defined those issues as including “mutual recognition, occupation, despair and denial of dignity.”

Ban said that he “fully shares” and appreciates Israel’s legitimate concern and the right to defend itself. He also urged to Israel to “exercise maximum restraint.”

Ban praised the Israeli people, saying that “even in the darkest hour the people of this country have such a tremendous capacity for generosity and good.” He then urged Israelis not to despair of the peace process, saying “there is no viable alternative to a two-state solution. No closure, no barrier will separate Israelis and Palestinians from a fundamental truth: you share one future.”

Netanyahu directly responded to ban regarding the two-state solution option, saying that Hamas is just another manifestation of violent, Islamic extremist organizations like ISIS, al-Qaida, Hezbollah or Boko Haram.
Hamas’s grievance, he said, “is that we exist. They don’t want a two state solution. They don’t want any solution.”

Netanyahu opened up his comments saying that Israel was doing what any other country in the world would do in a similar situation. “In the face of such wanton terror, no country could sit idly by. Israel is exercising its inherent and legitimate right of self defense and acting decisively to end the threat to its civilians. “

Netanyahu said that the international community must take a “clear stand” and hold Hamas accountable for consistently rejecting various ceasefire proposals, and for “starting and prolonging this conflict.”
While Israel is doing everything it can to avoid civilian casualties, he said, Hamas “wants more civilian casualties.”

via The Jerusalem Post


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