On Tuesday in a Security Council meeting the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs urged the international community to work towards reinstituting peace talks between Palestinians and Israel.
In addition, the UN Secretary General condemned the escalation of violence on both sides.
Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco stated, “The important achievements, especially those related to the State-building agenda of the Palestinian Authority, would be at risk if the impasse in the political process is not overcome.”
Calling for “decisive” action from the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East (the European Union, Russia, the United States, and the United Nations), he further urged all parties to “demonstrate leadership and rise to the challenge of making a historic peace” in reinitiating negotiations for a two-State solution.
Over the past month there have been various violent exchanges between Israel and Hamas including dozens rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into Israel over the weekend and retaliatory air strikes into Gaza by Israel on Tuesday which resulted in the deaths of four civilians, including three children.
In addition earlier on Wednesday there was a bombing attack at bus stop in Jerusalem which resulted in the deaths of one woman and the injury of at least 38 others.
A press statement later on Tuesday from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remarked of the previous attacks,
The Secretary-General strongly condemns the killing of three Palestinian children and their uncle and the wounding of 13 other civilians by an Israeli tank shell in the Gaza Strip earlier today. He is very concerned at an escalating situation in Gaza and southern Israel. He reiterates as well his condemnation of rocket fire by Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, including from populated areas, against civilian targets in southern Israel. He calls on all to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law.
“We must not let the recent surge in violence further undermine the possibility of finding a way towards an agreement on final status issues or undermine state-building achievements thus far,” Fernandez-Taranco implored.
He also said that Israel’s decision to continue West Bank construction of Israeli settlements only serves “to exacerbate tensions.”
Another major obstacle to peace in the region according to Fernandez-Taranco is the blockade on Gaza by Israel. Although he states that the amount of goods being allowed into Gaza by Israel has increased by over 50% from the June 2010 levels, the amount is still at one-third of the level that it was prior to Israel’s institution of the blockade in 2007.