Gaza in critical condition, says UN's Ban Ki-Moon

NEW YORK - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged an immediate halt to violence in Gaza, saying the Palestinian territory is in a "critical condition".

"In the name of humanity, the violence must stop," he said in New York after returning from a visit to the region.

Israel launched an offensive against Palestinian Hamas militants in the small coastal territory three weeks ago after a surge in rocket fire.

Mr Ban was critical of both sides for firing into civilian areas.

He said Hamas had fired missiles into civilian areas of Israel, while Israeli forces had used high-explosive weapons in the crowded Gaza Strip.

The people of Gaza had nowhere to run to, he added, emphasising that participants in conflicts had a responsibility to protect civilians.

He reiterated the UN's call for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Both sides had behaved in an irresponsible, "morally wrong" fashion, Mr Ban said, in allowing the violence to continue despite the efforts of the UN and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"It's a matter of their political will. They have to show their humanity as leaders, both Israeli and Palestinian," he told reporters at UN HQ.

    Comments (3)

    Can Palestinians move to safe zones as advised, why would you send your kid to a hospital or school where rocket launchers have been setup by Hamas? Hamas want to whip up world emotions by sacrificing their people and children. Daily we hear Israelies appealing to innocent civilians to move to safer positions but they want to play hero.

    Maita Manyuka - 29 July 2014

    l think to end all this,UN must agree to form a Palestine State,create the necessary bounderies and this conflict will come to an end.Noone must be allowed to kill or cause war in the name of religion.lts not good in the sight of God or any other form of religious belief.

    Hapaz Hapanyengwi - 29 July 2014

    All UN Secretaries general are employed to do one thing. They just speak to themselves, whilst those who kill people continue as if noone has said anything about it. Hitler only stopped after being militarily confronted. Colonisers in Southern Africa stopped killing blacks after being militarily confronted. Unfortunately, those with sufficient military power to do something about the Middle East crisis are patting Israel on the back. I do not support those who say Israel should be wiped off the map, but a huge military deployment of troops say by the UN could solve two problems. 1. create a buffer zone between Israel and Palestinians 2. make it difficult for Hamas to shell Israel. How is that for a start? Unfortunately, Ban Ki Moon will just pretend to simpathze with the victims, and then goes on to have tea with those who arm Isarel.

    machakachaka - 29 July 2014

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