UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he regrets Israel’s decision to launch a ground offensive in Gaza and warned there could be “no military solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I regret that despite my repeated urgings, and those of many regional and world leaders together, an already dangerous conflict has now escalated even further,” he stated during a meeting in New York on Thursday evening with his newly appointed special envoys for Syria.  “In the past 24 hours, there have been a number of incidents involving the deaths of civilians, including the appalling killing of four boys on a beach in Gaza City,” the secretary-general stated.
“I urge Israel to do far more to stop civilian casualties. There can be no military solution to this conflict. This applies as much to Israel-Palestine as it does to Syria.”–Special Correspondent
Israeli-Palestinian violence has flared in the wake of the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank and the subsequent kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager from East Jerusalem.
Earlier on Thursday, Ban had welcomed the humanitarian pause in Gaza which allowed the UN food agency and partners to provide aid to thousands of people, while expressing his hope that this will lead to a more durable calm.
The Israeli military said the offensive was in response to continued militant rocket fire and to strike a “significant blow to Hamas”, which controls Gaza.