United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday said the body condemned the kidnapping of three Israeli students by Hamas terrorists.
Speaking at the beginning of a meeting with President Shimon Peres at the UN Headquarters in New York, Ban said that the organization takes the kidnapping very seriously and will do whatever it can to help, in close coordination with international partners.
“Under any circumstances or any reasons this cannot be justified; it's totally unacceptable and I've condemned it in the strongest possible terms,” he said, according to a statement issued by the UN.
“I'm sending again my strong solidarity, first of all, with those young people who were kidnapped and must be enduring terrible days, and their families and friends, and the people of Israel,” Ban noted, adding that he had spoken with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu about the situation.
At the same time, according to the statement, the UN chief once again “stressed the need to avoid an escalation of tensions in the wake of the abductions.”
Ban noted that the UN is “very much troubled” by continuing terrorist attacks, which are also taking place in Iraq, Syria and many parts of Africa. He highlighted the work of the UN global counter-terrorism strategy, which the General Assembly adopted in 2006. The strategy consists of four pillars to combat terrorism, universally condemn terrorist violence and provide guidance to Member States.
“We need the whole world's unity and solidarity to address this terrorism,” Ban told Peres. “You can count on the United Nations.”
Ban previously expressed “solidarity” with the families of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but also hit out at Israel for arresting Hamas terrorists as part of its operation to locate the three teens.
Ban’s remarks came after the UN’s Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, also spoke out against Israel’s operation in Judea and Samaria to locate the three teenagers.
While Serry called for the release of the three, he expressed “deep concern” over Israel’s arrest of wanted terrorists.
On Friday, the UN’s human rights office urged Israel and its adversaries to “exercise restraint” amid the IDF’s Operation Brother’s Keeper to search for the three kidnapped teenagers.
"Clearly these boys need to be found, that's totally understandable, but the scale of operations and the number of people they are affecting is deeply disturbing," said human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville.
"We reiterate our call for strict adherence to international law by all relevant actors and join others in their call for restraint," he told reporters.