UN chief calls for end to Gaza violence, but Israel PM says ceasefire "not on agenda"
The UN's top chief called for a ceasefire to the intensifying violence in Gaza Thursday, but Israel's Prime Minister said that a ceasefire is "not on the agenda," according to Agence France Presse reports.
"It is now more urgent than ever to try to find common ground for a return to calm and a ceasefire understanding," said UN chief Ban Ki Moon during an emergency meeting of the Security Council in New York.
At least 88 Palestinians have been killed and 339 injured from at least 500 air strikes on Gaza over the past few days. Another 900 have been displaced from the strikes.
Hamas has also launched at least 550 rockets into Israel, with some even reaching Jerusalem. No Israelis have yet been killed from the rockets.
"Once again civilians are paying the price for the continuation of conflict. My paramount concern is the safety and well-being of all civilians no matter where they are," the UN chief said.
"Israel has legitimate security concerns but I am also concerned at the many Palestinian deaths and injuries as a result of Israeli operations," he added.
However, Israeli Prime Mnister Benjamin Netanyahu told a parliamentary committee in Tel Aviv Thursday that a ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza is "not even on the agenda," according to Israel's Haaretz newspaper.
"I am not talking to anybody about a ceasefire right now...It's not even on the agenda," said Netanyahu to the defense and foreign affairs committees.
This latest round of Gaza violence represents the "worst confrontations" in the area since 2012, according to the AFP report.