( COE )- "I am extremely worried by the violence in the Gaza Strip in the last few days, in which more than 100 people are reported to have died, some of them in horrifying circumstances," said Rene van der Linden, President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in a statement today.
"The Palestinian Territories are on the edge of a full-scale civil war. This not only results in the deaths of Palestinians, but also diminishes the prospect of an independent Palestinian state. This is the worst possible service that Palestinian political factions could do for their people.
I call on all Palestinian leaders to put an end to sectarian fighting, to show restraint and to return to dialogue as the only civilised way of carrying out the political process. In the meantime, the international community must build on its efforts to support moderates, including in Hamas."
Mr van der Linden is due to visit Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories from 3 to 11 July 2007.