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Addressing the meeting from Ramallah in the West Bank, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he hoped ceasefire in the Gaza Strip would be reached soon. Ban, who is currently on a Middle East tour, preferred not to disclose the details of talks conducted between the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the United States and other regional and international players. He said the most promising was Egypt’s initiative based on truce agreements reached in November 2012. The peace plan, in his words, had been welcomed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the League of Arab States, but not by Hamas.
In response, Israel’s Deputy UN Ambassador David Roet argued that his country had been forced to launch its operation in Gaza due to Islamic terrorism threats. “Israel has no interest in being in Gaza. We are fighting in Gaza, but we are not fighting the people of Gaza,” he said, adding that the goal of Israel's operation was “to eliminate the rockets, shut down the terror tunnels and demilitarize Gaza”. He said that peace in Palestine would be achieved only when peace was in Israel. “Israel is doing its utmost to avoid harming civilians because we believe that every innocent life lost is a tragedy. We deeply regret the losses, but the blame lies with Hamas for hiding behind civilians and using them as human shields,” he said. In his words, the Middle East was full of instability and intolerance, dictators, tyranny and terrorism, with Israel being the only liberal democratic nation in the entire Middle East.
A delegate from Jordan, the only LAS member state represented in the UN Security Council, said later on Tuesday he would submit for the UN Security Council consideration a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Hamas-dominated coastal enclave.
Iran, which spoke on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement, condemned Israel’s actions as punitive actions aimed against all civilian populations and violating international humanitarian laws.
Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, accused Israel of flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. He pledged his committee would support Palestine is it decides to sign and ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to administer justice and call to answer those responsible for the attacks against civilians.Western countries’ assessments somewhat stood out against the general background of the discussion. They tended to place responsibility for the hostilities in the Gaza Strip on Palestinian militants and expressed support to Israel’s offensive.
Thus, Great Britain’s Premanent Representative in the UN Ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, said his country supported Israel’s actions to protect itself from missile attacks. However he, too, called on the Israeli authorities to do their best to avoid civilian casualties, show restraint and put an end to the situation.
US Ambassador Samantha Power said it was Israel’s right to protect its citizens from missile attacks and attempts by militants to reach the country via tunnels. Nonetheless, she joined all others who supported Egypt’s peace initiative.