Israeli and UN chief discuss Gaza situation, Middle East peace
Israeli President Shimon Peres and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday discussed the "worrying impasse" and urgent need to revive the Middle East peace process, a UN spokesman said, dpa reported.
Ban also expressed his concern over the escalating violence along the Gaza-Israel border. Israel has retaliated with artillery fire since Hamas militants fired an anti-tank rocket at an Israeli bus on Thursday. At least five Palestinians have been killed.
"The secretary general urged maximum restraint from both sides," said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.
"The secretary general repeated his condemnation of militant rocket fire from Gaza, and expressed his serious concern about Palestinian civilian casualties in Israeli military operations," Nesirky said.
Peres and Ban discussed the Goldstone report on 2008/2009 conflict between Israel and Hamas, which accused Israel of targeting Palestinian civilians.
The author of the report, Richard Goldstone, last week recanted the charge saying he did not have the information that he now has. The South African jurist led a three-member panel to investigate the fighting at the request of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Israeli government has said it will try to have council revoke the report following Goldstone's retraction.
The New York Times reported Friday that Peres had come to the US and the UN to warn against a possible move in the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution in September recognizing a Palestinian state. The Palestinian Authority has been advancing the idea of a unilateral declaration of sovereignty because of the stalled peace talks with Israel. Israel is opposes the move.
The so-called quartet for Middle East peace - the UN, US, European Union and Russia, has endorsed a two-state solution as part of a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.