NEW YORK, 5 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is a statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan following the weekend attacks in Israel:
Yet again today -- this time, in Safad in the north of Israel -- a Palestinian terrorist has needlessly and pointlessly destroyed at least 10 lives, including his own, while inflicting injuries on some 50 people and spreading fear and misery among hundreds of friends and relatives. People were also killed when a gunman opened fire in Jerusalem.
Does it need saying, yet again, that these attacks on civilians are immoral and illegal, as well as politically counter-productive?
Every day, it seems, brings fresh news of death, destruction and suffering among innocent civilians, Israeli and Palestinian alike. One side resorts to indiscriminate terror, the other responds with retaliation that is equally devastating in its effects on ordinary people. Each feeds the anger and hatred of the other, and then yet more innocent lives are swept away in the backlash.
What is even worse is that each act of violence delays yet further the only course of action that offers any hope of a lasting respite -- namely, a return to negotiations on a political solution to the underlying conflict between the two peoples. We must escape from this endless downward spiral.
I appeal to both sides to refrain from further retaliation. I urge each side not to allow any act by the other to deflect it from the search for peace. I urge both to apply themselves, without further delay, to working out the details of the solution we all know must come sooner or later -- the solution called for by the Security Council, of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in secure and recognized borders.
For humanity’s sake, let it come sooner rather than later.
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