UN chief reiterates call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

January 15th, 2009 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, Jan 15 (DPA) Elements are in place for a ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas fighting in the Gaza Strip to come “reasonably soon”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday.He told a news conference in Tel Aviv that what was needed was an immediate end to the fighting, after which the parties could continue deciding on the conditions for a more durable truce.

He said a UN Security Council resolution from one week ago calling on the sides to end the fighting was binding and Israel had to abide by it.

Ban added that the number of casualties in the Gaza fighting had reached an “unbearable point” and it was “unacceptable” that more people would be killed in the fighting.

It was equally unacceptable that almost one million people in Israel lived day and night in fear of Hamas rockets from the Gaza Strip, the secretary general said.

Israel began its Gaza offensive Dec 27, after rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip on its southern towns and villages.

Over 1,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting so far, as have 13 Israelis.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told the news conference that Israel, as a member of the UN, was doing what it was doing in order to protect its citizens from the Hamas rockets.

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