Full Text of John Kerry, Ban Ki-moon Statement on Gaza Cease-Fire

The U.S. and U.N. have “assurances that all parties have agreed to an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.”

Smoke rises from buildings following an Israeli airstrike in eastern Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya during a military operation on July 23.
National Journal
July 31, 2014, 1:56 p.m.

The United States and United Na­tions to­geth­er have an­nounced a 72-hour hu­man­it­ari­an cease-fire in the on­go­ing con­flict in Ga­za that will go in­to ef­fect Fri­day morn­ing. Most im­port­antly, per a joint stat­ment, the U.S. and U.N. say they have “as­sur­ances that all parties have agreed to an un­con­di­tion­al hu­man­it­ari­an cease­fire in Ga­za.”

Since the con­flict began on Ju­ly 8, cease-fire talks have come in fits and starts. Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Net­an­yahu as re­cently as Thursday said he would not ac­cept a cease-fire pro­pos­al that would thwart Is­rael’s mis­sion to des­troy Palestini­an group Hamas’s tun­nel net­work. “We are de­term­ined to con­tin­ue to com­plete this mis­sion with or without a cease-fire,” he said in pub­lic re­marks.

Be­low is the full state­ment from Kerry and Ban, re­leased Thursday af­ter­noon:

Sec­ret­ary-Gen­er­al Ban Ki-moon and United States Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry an­nounce that the United Na­tions Rep­res­ent­at­ive in Jer­u­s­alem, Spe­cial Co­ordin­at­or Robert Serry, has re­ceived as­sur­ances that all parties have agreed to an un­con­di­tion­al hu­man­it­ari­an cease­fire in Ga­za.

This hu­man­it­ari­an cease­fire will com­mence at 8 am loc­al time on Fri­day, Au­gust 1, 2014. It will last for a peri­od of 72 hours un­less ex­ten­ded.

Dur­ing this time the forces on the ground will re­main in place.

We urge all parties to act with re­straint un­til this hu­man­it­ari­an cease­fire be­gins, and to fully abide by their com­mit­ments dur­ing the cease­fire.

This cease­fire is crit­ic­al to giv­ing in­no­cent ci­vil­ians a much-needed re­prieve from vi­ol­ence. Dur­ing this peri­od, ci­vil­ians in Ga­za will re­ceive ur­gently needed hu­man­it­ari­an re­lief, and the op­por­tun­ity to carry out vi­tal func­tions, in­clud­ing bury­ing the dead, tak­ing care of the in­jured, and re­stock­ing food sup­plies. Over­due re­pairs on es­sen­tial wa­ter and en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture could also con­tin­ue dur­ing this peri­od.

Is­raeli and Palestini­an del­eg­a­tions will im­me­di­ately be go­ing to Cairo for ne­go­ti­ations with the Gov­ern­ment of Egypt, at the in­vit­a­tion of Egypt, aimed at reach­ing a dur­able cease­fire. The parties will be able to raise all is­sues of con­cern in these ne­go­ti­ations.

We thank key re­gion­al stake­hold­ers for their vi­tal sup­port of this pro­cess, and count on a con­tin­ued col­lab­or­at­ive in­ter­na­tion­al ef­fort to as­sist Egypt and the parties reach a dur­able cease­fire as soon as pos­sible.

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