United Nations: UN chief Ban Ki-moon today warned that fresh "round of violence and vengeance" is "almost guaranteed" between the Israelis and Palestinians if the "underlying" causes of the conflict are not addressed as he hoped that the two sides reach a "durable ceasefire" soon.
"The United Nations will work with regional and international actors to rebuild. But unless we address the underlying causes of the conflict, another round of violence and vengeance is?almost guaranteed," Ban told reporters here.
Ban said while Israel's duty to protect its citizens from rocket attacks and other threats is "beyond question", yet the fighting has raised "serious questions" about its "respect for the principles of distinction and proportionality."
Reports of "militant activity does not justify jeopardizing the lives and safety of many thousands of innocent civilians," he said, adding he has called for a probe into the repeated shelling by Israel of UN facilities harbouring civilians.
"I expect accountability for the innocent lives lost and the damage incurred," he said.
Ban said while the 72-hour ceasefire, brokered by Egypt between the Israelis and the Palestinians, appears to be holding, it is not enough and "I strongly hope that a durable ceasefire?will be reached soon."
According to preliminary information, nearly 2000 Palestinians have been killed, almost 75 per cent of them civilians, including 459 children.
Ban said more children have been killed in Gaza in the current conflict than in the previous two crises combined.
More than 300,000 people are still sheltering in UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), schools, government and private schools and other public facilities while at least 100,000 people have had their homes destroyed and severely damaged.
Ban said most of Gaza's households have little or no water supply and hospitals meant to cope with disaster have themselves become disaster zones.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has formed a three-member independent Commission of Inquiry that would "investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law" in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since June 13 2014.
It will also make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways to protect civilians against any further assaults.
On the situation in Iraq, Ban said he welcomes the movement toward the formation of a new government and Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abbadi has the "important task" of forming a "broad-based government acceptable to all components of Iraqi society."
He termed the 'Islamic State' a "threat" to Iraq, Syria and the region, and expressed concern over the "harrowing" plight of the Yazidis seeking refuge on Mount Sinjar.