Israel, Hamas Interested in Ceasefire But No Agreement Yet - Ban Ki-moon
UNITED NATIONS, July 28 (RIA Novosti) – Israel and Hamas have expressed an interest in UN call for a humanitarian truce but have not yet reached an agreement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.
'The parties have expressed serious interest in this request but have not yet agreed on the timing of its implementation,' Ban Ki-moon said.
In the wake of the deadly shelling of the compound of a UN-run school in Beit Hanoun, the secretary-general said that 'with hundreds of Palestinians already killed in Gaza and horrifying levels of physical destruction, he urges those responsible to step back from provoking or inflicting yet more tragic violence on civilians there.'
Addressing the root causes of the conflict 'is the only way finally to break the seemingly endless cycle of violence and suffering. That means an end to the blockade of Gaza and ultimately to the nearly half century of occupation,' Ban Ki-moon concluded.
It 'equally or also means security for Israelis,' the secretary-general said.
Earlier on Monday, the United Nations Security Council ratified a draft statement calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to allow for the delivery of urgently needed assistance.
More than 1,000 Palestinians have died in the ongoing military operation launched by Israel early July against Hamas and its allied militant groups. According to recent estimates, the Israeli side has lost more than 40 soldiers and three civilians.
Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge to put an end to rocket fire from Gaza and undermining the Hamas movement, which controls the region, back on July 8. On July 17, the Israeli Army switched to a ground assault largely aims at locating and destroying rocket launchers and infrastructure used by militants to penetrate into Israel and to transport weapons.
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