United Nations condemns Palestinian rocket attacks and Israel's 'disproportionate' response

Sunday, March 2, 2008

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has deplored Israel for using excessive force in the Gaza Strip after troops killed 61 people Saturday including eight children, the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 1980s.

Addressing the Security Council, Ban condemned Israel's excessive use of force, but also criticised Palestinian rocket attacks. "I condemn Palestinian rocket attacks, and call for the immediate cessation of such acts of terrorism, which serve no purpose, endanger Israeli civilians, and bring misery to the Palestinian people. I call for an end to these attacks," said Ban.

"While recognising Israel's right to defend itself, I condemn the disproportionate and excessive use of force that has killed and injured so many civilians, including children ... I call on Israel to cease such attacks," Ban continued.

However, there was no sign that the Israeli government is willing to stop an offensive that put more troops in Gaza on Sunday than since Israel ended a 35-year occupation in 2005. The offensive comes in response to a recent number of Palestinian rocket attacks including one on Wednesday which killed an Israeli student in the town of Sderot.

There have been calls by Libya to agree to a draft that would condemn Israel's killing of civilians; however, diplomats believe that it will not pass unless it is amended to mention Palestinian rocket fire.