The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting here to discuss the deadly Israeli attack on Gaza, with India expressing the hope that Israel and Palestine will pay heed to the Council’s message that the two should exercise restraint and violence must stop.

“It is our expectation that the Council’s meeting will help de-escalate the situation and impress upon the parties the need to exercise maximum restraint so that the situation does not deteriorate any further.

“The message which must resonate from this meeting is that violence has to stop,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri told presspersons after the late night 90-minute closed door emergency meeting.

Puri, who is also President of the Security Council, was speaking in his national capacity and not on behalf of the Council.

He said all the statements that he heard during the meeting “resonated with the message that the violence has to stop, there has to be de-escalation (of violence)”.

The Council did not come up with any statement on the Israeli attack and Puri said council members had only agreed to issue a communique, which would state that an emergency meeting on the situation had taken place.

He said the Council will continue to monitor the crisis.

The Council also heard a briefing on the situation from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

Tensions flared between Israel and Palestine after Israel launched deadly strikes against Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza yesterday.

Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari, the head of the military wing of the Palestinian group Hamas that controls Gaza, was killed when his car was targeted during Israeli air strikes on the territory that followed a wave of rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke by telephone yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi about the escalating violence in Gaza and southern Israel.

Ban’s spokesperson said the UN Chief expressed his concern to Netanyahu about the deteriorating situation in southern Israel and Gaza, which includes an alarming escalation of indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and the targeted killing by Israel of the Hamas military operative in Gaza.

The Secretary-General reiterated his strong condemnation of rocket fire out of Gaza and noted his expectation that Israeli reactions are measured so as not to provoke a new cycle of bloodshed that could cause additional civilian casualties and have dangerous spillover effects in the region.

He also called for the parties to exercise the utmost restraint and to respect international humanitarian law.

(This article was published on November 15, 2012)
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