U.N. chief says Mideast tension could end if Hamas stops firing rockets
Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 02:19
At an urgent meeting of the Security Council, the U.N. chief says further escalation of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities could end if Hamas stops firing rockets. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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At least 74 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have already been been killed in Israel's Gaza offensive -- this comes as militants keep up rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities in warfare showing no signs of ending.
At the U.N. Thursday, Secretary general Ban Ki-Moon says hostilities could end if Hamas stops firing rockets.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON SAYING:
"Today, we face the risk of an all-out escalation in Israel and Gaza, with the threat of a ground offensive still palpable -- and preventable only if Hamas stops rocket firing."
The Palestinian Ambassador to the U.N. says it is not enough for the U.N. to point fingers.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N. RIYAD MANSOUR SAYING:
"It must act to protect the civilian lives, de-escalate the current crisis, and salvage the prospect for peace and security in our troubled region. Failing to do so, it will further diminish its own credibility and be complicit in allowing innocent children, women, and men to die and the situation to further destabilize with far reaching consequences."
His Israeli counterpart plays an air raid signal for the council.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO U.N. RON PROSOR SAYING:
"Fifteen seconds. That's how much time you have to run for you life. Imagine having only 15 seconds to find a bomb shelter. Now imagine doing it with small children or elderly parents or an ailing friend. A generation of Israeli children is growing up under the shadow of this threat. This abnormal way of life has become the normal way of life for many Israelis and it is absolutely, absolutely unacceptable. No nation, no people, and no government could tolerate this."
The most recent hostilities were sparked three weeks ago by the kidnapping of three Jewish students in the occupied West Bank, who were later found dead. Then a teenage Palestinian was kidnapped and his burned body found in a Jerusalem forest.
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