Friday, 25 July 2014

ABC - 23/7 Kerry seeks ceasefire

Kerry seeks ceasefire

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 23/07/2014
Reporter: Hayden Cooper
US Secretary of State John Kerry has made a surprise visit to Tel Aviv in his mission to achieve a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.


EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: In the past few hours, US Secretary of State John Kerry has made a surprise visit to Tel Aviv as his mission for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza continues. Mr Kerry's plane landed at Ben Gurion Airport just a day after the US Federal Aviation Administration suspended civilian flights to Israel. He'll meet with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to try and broker a truce to end the bitter fighting, which has claimed more than 600 lives. Middle East correspondent Hayden Cooper reports.

HAYDEN COOPER, REPORTER: The US Secretary of State flies in to Tel Aviv, the latest stop in his diplomatic tour. John Kerry is trying to edge the two sides towards a cease-fire.

His flight was one of few to land here today. With air traffic authorities nervous about flying near war zones, US and European airlines have halted flights to and from Tel Aviv.

The decision came after one rocket from Gaza landed too close for comfort, prompting an evacuation of Ben Gurion Airport.

EYEWITNESS: The whole airport rushed into the bomb shelters and it was terrifying.

HAYDEN COOPER: As the conflict enters its third week, diplomats have arrived seeking a solution.

BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: My message to the Israelis and Palestinians is the same: stop fighting, start talking and take on the root causes of the conflict.

HAYDEN COOPER: The UN chief met the Israeli leader, who sounds as determined as ever.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Israel has no option but to defend itself and this is what we're doing, as is our right.

HAYDEN COOPER: But the Palestinian President says ending the violence is up to Israel.

MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT (voiceover translation): The occupation forces have crossed all lines and broken all humanitarian and international laws and ethics.

HAYDEN COOPER: Throughout the night and into the day, the Israeli assault on Gaza continued. 

Hamas claims it's captured an Israeli soldier in the territory. 21-year-old Oron Shaul disappeared on Sunday, presumed dead by Israeli authorities. But his family holds out hope.

RACHAELI GAZIT, COUSIN (voiceover translation): As long as the Army are still working and there are no decisive findings on the issue, the family does not consider Oron to be a fallen soldier.

HAYDEN COOPER: In Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, the body count keeps rising. 

For a cease-fire to work, the diplomats need a deal that allows both sides to claim victory. Ending this war will prove more difficult than starting it.

Hayden Cooper, Lateline.

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