As prospects of a ceasefire faded, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon Tuesday upheld Israel’s right to defend its citizens against rocket attacks. “Those attacks must stop immediately,” he told reporters whom he addressed with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after their meeting in Jerusalem. He extended his condolences to the families of Israeli victims and the three murdered and kidnapped Israeli teenagers, and went on to say, “Too many Palestinian and Israeli mothers are burying their children. It is time to stop fighting and start talking about the root causes of the conflict.” Ban urged Israel to “demonstrate maximum restraint amid ongoing fighting” and called on Hamas to embrace non-violence and recognize Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu replied that Israel not only has the right but the duty to defend its citizens against terrorists. After accepting three separate ceasefires that were rejected by Hamas, he said the UN and international community must hold the Islamists accountable for attacking Israeli civilians and deliberately putting Palestinians in harm’s way to maximize their casualties. “Hamas is holding its own people hostage.”

 “It is impossible to talk to extremists like Hamas, IS, al Qaeda and Boko Haram,” said the prime minister. "Hamas does not want two states, only Israel’s destruction."