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Israel must act within international law - Foreign Secretary Jack Straw

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The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said today:
'Some 36 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza since 20 February. I am deeply concerned by the number of civilian deaths, including that of a pregnant woman in Bureij refugee camp at the weekend, when her neighbour's house was demolished. The indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli Defence Force only fuels the cycle of violence, denying both Israelis and Palestinians the security they deserve. I have repeatedly championed Israel's right to take steps to provide security for its citizens, but these must be within international law.

'Our Ambassador to Israel will raise our concerns with the Israel authorities today and I call on them to do everything within their power to prevent further deaths of civilians.

'I urge the new Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to take immediate steps to resume the political process needed to reach a negotiated settlement by 2005. Leaders on both sides must show statesmanship and rekindle hopes for peace.'