29 October 2003


NEW YORK, 28 October (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued on 27 October by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General continues to follow with great concern the ongoing cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.  He deplores all acts that fuel and intensify the conflict.

The Secretary-General reminds the Israeli authorities that house demolitions amount to collective punishment, which is a clear violation of international humanitarian law.  During the past month, some 200 buildings in the Gaza Strip were destroyed rendering more than 2,000 people homeless.  In this connection, he deplores the destruction by the Israeli military of three 13-story buildings in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night.

The Secretary-General remains convinced that the only outcome that will bring real security to both sides is a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East in which two sovereign and independent States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders.  He strongly urges Israel to cease and desist immediately from all actions, such as continued settlement activity and the so-called security fence, that make that outcome more difficult by creating unilateral facts on the ground.

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