Ban: Cease-Fire Must Be Two-Sided

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon met with Israeli government officials to press for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

At a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Ban said a cease-fire agreement "hinges on the political will of both sides."

"Clearly a return to the status quo ante can be no option," the secretary-general said.

"If a cease-fire is to be sustainable, we need arrangements to ensure a halt to the re-supply of weapons to Gaza militants [sic], a reopening of the [border] crossings, a release of [Israel Defense Forces] Corporal [Gilad] Shalit and that Gaza is reunited with the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] under one legitimate Palestinian authority," he said.

Ban also expressed "strong protest and outrage" at the IDF's shelling of the UNRWA compound Thursday, noting that Defense Minister Ehud Barak apologized to him immediately afterward, saying it was "a grave mistake."

Later, Barak partially retracted his remarks after talking with International Red Cross head Jacob Kellenberger, who reported that Hamas gunmen opened fire at IDF troops from positions right next to the UN building, shooting from behind human shields. The IDF returned fire.

The secretary-general also told reporters that he condemned Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

"No nation should have to live like this," Ban said. "Israel has the right to live in peace and security. Israel has the right to defend its citizens and should be treated by the same standards as all member states of the UN," he said.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news

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