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, while the Security Council met in a closed, late-night session on the situation.
According to a readout from the Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Ban 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 a Hamas military operative in Gaza.
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 reportedly targeted during Israeli air strikes on the territory that followed a wave of rocket attacks against Israel from 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.
The 15-member Council met Wednesday night behind closed doors, with the participation of the two parties, and heard a briefing on the situation from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.
In his conversation with Morsi, the Secretary-General stated the need to prevent any further deterioration of the situation, and expressed strong support for the leadership being exercised by Egypt to restore calm in the region.