[Video below.] United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on Israel to exercise “maximum restraint” in its operation focused on Gaza, saying in Jerusalem that the loss of civilian lives was “unacceptable under any circumstances.”
Speaking at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu after the two held a meeting, Mr. Ban also said he “strongly cautioned against a ground invasion” of the Palestinian enclave.
The latest wave of violence - which includes rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza, and Israeli airstrikes on Gaza - began on 14 November. A chorus of UN officials, beginning with the Secretary-General, have appealed for an end to the violence and strongly urged the parties to achieve an immediate ceasefire.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “One of the things that we’re doing is trying to resist and counter a terrorist barrage which is aimed directly at our civilians, and doing so by minimizing civilian casualties, whereas the terrorist enemies of Israel are doing everything in their power to maximize the number of civilian casualties. Obviously, no country can tolerate a wanton attack on its civilians.
“Rockets have hit areas just outside of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as Israeli towns near Gaza, killing and injuring civilians,” said Mr. Ban, calling the attacks “unacceptable, irresponsible and reckless. I strongly condemn these actions. Rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel must cease immediately.
“I know how difficult the situation is here, but Israel must exercise maximum restraint,” he said, also taking noted of an Israeli statement that Israeli military operations focused on “military facilities. While Israeli rockets may be aimed at military targets inside Gaza, they kill and injure civilians and damage civilian infrastructures,” he added. “The loss of civilian lives is unacceptable under any circumstances. The excessive use of force is unlawful and must be rejected.”
Click below for a video of the joint press conference: