Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing of four Israeli citizens in the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, just days before Israeli and Palestinian leaders are set to begin face-to-face talks in Washington.
The four Israelis – two men and two women, one of whom was reportedly pregnant – were travelling in a car near Hebron last night when they were shot dead.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban extended his condolences to the families of the victims and called for the perpetrators of the attack to be promptly brought to justice.
“This attack must be recognized for what it is: a cynical and blatant attempt to undermine the direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations starting tomorrow,” noted the statement.
The United States Government will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for direct negotiations starting on 2 September.
Adding that negotiations are the only way for the parties to resolve all final status issues, the Secretary-General called on both sides to “show leadership, courage, and responsibility to realize the aspirations of both peoples.”
The attack was also condemned by UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry, who in a statement issued last night urged all sides “not to allow the enemies of peace to affect the negotiations about to be launched, and to progress with determination and courage on behalf of both peoples, towards a final settlement.”