United Nations: The United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing of
four Israelis by the Islamist group Hamas in the West Bank,
describing it as an attempt to undermine the crucial direct
talks between Israel and the Palestine leadership.
"This attack must be recognized for what it is: a
cynical and blatant attempt to undermine the direct
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations starting tomorrow," Ban said.
Noting that the the attack comes just ahead of the
peace talks between Israeli and Palestinians that begin
tomorrow in Washington, Ban urged parties not to be
sidetracked by the attack.
"He (Ban) extends his condolences to the families of
the victims and calls for the perpetrators of this crime to be
promptly brought to justice," a statement from his office
"Negotiations are the only way for the parties to
resolve all final status issues. The Secretary-General calls
upon both sides to show leadership, courage, and
responsibility to realize the aspirations of both people," it
The UN has also called for the perpetrators of the
attack to be apprehended and prosecuted.
"We condemn this murderous act and call for those
responsible to be brought to justice," Robert Serry, the UN
Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said in
a statement issued in Jerusalem.
Serry also urged all sides "not to allow the enemies
of peace to affect the negotiations about to be launched, and
to progress with determination and courage on behalf of both
peoples, towards a final settlement."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in
Washington to begin direct peace negotiations with Palestinian
president Mahmud Abbas tomorrow. The US is playing an active
role in the crucial direct talks, with US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton holding a first round of talks with some of
the participating leaders.