Ban Ki-moon calls for restraint after 'Nakba Day' deaths

UN sec.-gen. notes border breach originated on Syrian side, calls for all concerned to "refrain from provocations," prevent escalation.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
May 16, 2011 06:42
2 minute read.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/ Joshua Lott)

 
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late Sunday night called for restraint following a deadly day of border demonstrations marking "Nakba Day" along the Syrian border.

"The secretary-general is deeply concerned that a significant number of people have been killed or injured," Ban's office said in a statement. "He calls on all concerned to show restraint and refrain from provocations so as to prevent escalation of tensions and ensure civilians are not killed or injured.”

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Noting that the border breach originated from  the Syrian side, Ban said he was “acutely conscious of the unsustainable status quo in the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is only thrown into sharper relief by the profound political changes now under way in the region.”

He added that there is an "urgent need for a just, lasting and comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace."

In addition, the UN secretary-general called for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to resume in order to reach a two-state settlement, which he said would, "advance the broader goal of a comprehensive regional peace in the Middle East.”

UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) urged the parties involved in a shooting incident on Sunday at the Lebanese-Israeli border to show "maximum restraint" to prevent casualties.

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Spokesman Andrea Tenenti said UNIFIL was in contact with the Lebanese army and the Israeli military. Security sources said four people had been killed after Israeli forces fired in the air to repel Palestinians demonstrating at Maroun a-Ras on the border.

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"Hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinians approached the fence at Maroun a-Ras. The Lebanese army did not stop them. When IDF saw them attempting to destroy the fence, they took steps to stop them," Brig.-Gen. Yoav "Poli" Mordechai told Channel 10 News.

Also on Sunday, several dozen pro-Palestinian protesters crossed the Syrian border into the Golan Heights, an act Mordechai called "an Iranian provocation." Sources reported between two to four Syrians dead and 10-20 people injured in those ensuing clashes.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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