Addressing the Security Council on January 6, 2009, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, called for an immediate ceasefire. Ki-moon’s recommendations were made particularly in light of the deadly Israeli strike of a United Nations School where hundreds of Gazans had sought refuge. Referring to the damage caused to the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees for the Near East (UNRWA) run schools, he stated as follows: “These attacks by Israeli military forces which endanger UN facilities acting as places of refuge are totally unacceptable, and should not be repeated. Equally unacceptable are any actions by Hamas militants which endanger the Palestinian civilian population. Today’s events underscore the dangers inherent in the continuation and escalation of this conflict. I call once again for an immediate ceasefire.”
Ki-Moon also pointed out that earlier he had met the United States President, George W. Bush and explained to him the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire. The Secretary General announced that he would be traveling to Israel and Palestine next week, but that the ceasefire cannot wait until then. Emphasizing the gravity of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza he observed: “Entire families have perished in the violence, including women and children, UN staff, and medical workers. There are no shelters for the vast majority of the civilian population. Food and fuel supplies are insufficient. A million people have no electricity. A quarter of a million have no running water.” Welcoming the French and Egyptian resolution for a ceasefire, he stated that third parties will have to play a major role in achieving and implementing any ceasefire and ensuring successful relief and reconstruction work in Gaza.
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