Carter Center urges end to Gaza violence

ATLANTA (AP) - The Carter Center is urging both sides to cease violence in and around Gaza, saying it threatens Mideast peace talks and Israel's long-term security.

The center founded by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife - which has offices in Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank - said Wednesday that Israel must cease attacks endangering civilians in the densley populated territory. It also urgedand Hamas leaders to end rocket attacks against Israel.

The Atlanta-based Carter Center released a statement saying Israel has a right to protect its citizens but "these operations are disproportionate and detrimental to the ongoing peace efforts."

It said bombing "contributes to the further radicalization of the Palestinian population and undermines Israel's long-term security interests.

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