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Israel, Palestinians Urged to Return to Talks

After Deadly Gaza Shelling, Senior UN Official Urges Israel, Palestinians to Return to Talks

New York, Nov 9 2006 1:00PM

The Security Council met in open session today to discuss the latest deadly violence in the Gaza Strip, with a senior United Nations official calling on Israel to review the implications of its military actions, on the Palestinians to take the critically important step of stopping rocket attacks by militants, and on both sides to return to talks.

“The incident that occurred in Beit Hanoun on Wednesday is shocking,” Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Angela Kane said of yesterday’s Israeli shelling of residential area in which 18 Palestinian civilians were killed, including eight children and seven women.

“Men, women and children, who posed no threat were killed as they slept in their home. While this incident is unusual in scale, however, it is not the first time an Israeli military operation in the occupied Palestinian territory has resulted in a high number of civilian casualties,” she told the 15-member body, which was called into session at the request of the Arab League.

Ms. Kane cited Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s statement of shock yesterday, in which he noted Israel’s announcement of an investigation into the shelling and said he looked forward to its early results.

“We see the investigation as an opportunity for Israel to reflect not only on the obvious military and operational implications, but also on the policy of military pressure as a whole which is quite clearly not producing the desired goal of stopping rocket attacks,” she said.

“The Palestinians need, more than ever, a respite from the siege to which they are subjected so that they can see on the horizon a credible negotiated way out.”

At the same time Ms. Kane noted that the UN had repeatedly condemned Palestinian rocket fire. “We do so again today, as we note that a large number of rockets have been fired by Palestinian militants into Israel during the past week,” she stated. “It is of critical importance that responsible Palestinian forces should join in action to make sure that militant attacks are stopped.”

She reiterated the repeated UN calls for both sides to return to dialogue as “the only way out of this spiral of violence.”

Over 30 countries were scheduled to speak during the session. Live webcast


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