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Ban urges Gazans to stop rocket fire

At Beit Hanassi, UN chief calls for Schalit's release, and for peace talks.

March 20, 2010 22:17
1 minute read.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Presid

ban ki moon peres 311. (photo credit: Avi Ohayon / GPO)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday night called for Palestinian terrorists to stop firing rockets from Gaza into Israel and also urged that Hamas release kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit on humanitarian grounds.

Four rockets hit open areas in Israel's South on Saturday. No one was hurt and no damage was reported in the attacks.

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After spending the day talking to Palestinian Authority leaders in the West Bank, Ban came to have dinner with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem.

He recalled that he had previously met with Peres in Beit Hanassi in January last year "at a very critical period" of the conflict with Gaza.

His present visit, he said was also at a critical juncture, and that he was bringing with him a clear message from the meeting of the Quartet in Moscow on Friday which called for a cessation of all settlement activity and illegal outposts.

While he was aware of Israel's security problems, and always will be aware and open minded about them, he said, Ban stressed the need for Israel and the Palestinians to live as two side by side states in peace and security.

He called for an end to all violence and a calming of the current situation.

He also counseled both sides to refrain from actions that would undermine the outcome of the negotiations.

In welcoming Ban, Peres called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to start negotiations straight away. "Let us not waste time," he said. "Things have to move."

He also urged that the UN take a stand on Gilad Schalit, saying that the fact that no medical examiner had been allowed to see him in more than three years was "unbelievable."

Saying that "peace is possible", Peres advised all those involved in efforts for peace not to listen to pessimistic voices. 

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