UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned the killing of an 18-month-old baby in an arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists near Ramallah, AFP reports.
According to the report, the UN chief also blasted what he referred to as “repeated acts of settler violence” and “Israel's illegal settlement policy”.
Ban called on the perpetrators of what he called a "terrorist act" to face justice, and expressed condolences for the family of the dead baby, Ali Saad Dawabsha.
"The Secretary-General strongly condemns today's murder of a Palestinian child in the West Bank and calls for the perpetrators of this terrorist act to be promptly brought to justice," a spokesperson for Ban said, according to AFP.
"He expresses his deepest condolences to the family of Ali Dawabsha, who were themselves severely injured in the arson attack."
Ban said he "urges both sides to take bold steps to return to the path of peace."
"Continued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life. This must end," he charged.
"The absence of a political process and Israel's illegal settlement policy, as well as the harsh and unnecessary practice of demolishing Palestinian houses, have given rise to violent extremism on both sides," said the UN chief.
Four family members of the one-and-a-half year-old were transferred to Israeli hospitals for treatment after the attack, which the Defense Ministry, IDF, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and greater political establishment condemned as "despicable."
Ban’s condemnation followed that of the State Department in Washington, which called the attack a "vicious terrorist attack".
A statement from the State Department urged Israel to "apprehend the murderers" and called on both sides to "avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragic incident."
The IDF said earlier Friday it would take active steps to contain the possibility of reactionary violence from the Palestinian Authority. The announcement came after the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said it holds the Israeli government "fully responsible" for the death of the toddler.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)