UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has slammed the ‘heinous’ killing of three Israeli teenagers, and called on all sides to refrain from actions that could further escalate tensions in the region.
The Secretary-General “believes this heinous act by enemies of peace aims to further entrench division and distrust and to widen the conflict. It must not be allowed to succeed,” a statement issued on Monday said.
Condemning “in the strongest terms” the murder of the teenagers, Ban said “there can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians” and expressed hope that Israeli’s and Palestinians will work together to uncover the truth and bring the perpetrators swiftly to justice.
Ban called on all parties to abide by their obligations under international law and to “refrain from any actions that could further escalate this highly tense situation.” The three Israeli teenagers were abducted on June 12 in the West Bank. The Israeli military said it found the three bodies northwest of Hebron earlier on Monday.
A day before, ahead of farewell meeting in New York with outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres, the Secretary-General had underscored the United Nations strong solidarity with Israel and stressed the need to avoid escalation of tension in the wake of the abductions.
UNICEF also condemned the killing of the teenagers and said that the latest act of violence is a “tragic and terrible” reminder of the toll that “senseless hatred” is taking on both Israeli and Palestinian children.
UNICEF hoped that the incident “will not fuel further violence” and urged all parties to “exercise the utmost restraint, and do everything in their power to protect all children – Palestinian and Israeli – from harm.”