Violence clouds Israeli-Palestinian talks

April 23, 2008 at 10:04 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, April 23 (UPI) -- Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are the most intense they've been in the nearly eight years since the political process fell apart, a U.N. official says.

However, Angela Kane, assistant secretary-general for political affairs, told the U.N. Security Council that while the significance of the negotiations should not be underestimated, "neither should the grave risks to the process be overlooked." She pointed to several recent major violent incidents in the region, particularly in and around Gaza, and heightened stress on the area's civilian population both in the West Bank and Israel.

Kane said 69 Palestinians, including 15 children, were killed in operations of the Israeli military forces and 95 injured, while six Israelis were killed by Palestinian militants and 27 injured, the United Nations said in a news release.

"We are deeply alarmed at the prospects of a further intensification of violence, given the terrible implications for civilians and the threat such conflict would pose to the security of all parties -- the Palestinians, Israel and Egypt," she said, calling on Cairo to continue its efforts to bring calm to Gaza.

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