European Union (EU) foreign policy and security chief Javier Solana on Wednesday deplored Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night.
"I deplore the Israeli military operation carried out last night in Beit Hanoun, which has resulted in the deaths of 18 people, mostly civilians," Solana said in a statement.
"It is high time to break the cycle of violence that I condemn in the strongest terms."
He said these military operations must be halted. "We must give a chance to the process of reconciliation between Palestinians. President (Mahmoud) Abbas must be fully supported in his efforts to form a new government."
The European Union hopes that the political forces engaged in the formation of a new Palestinian government will be able to resume their dialogue and succeed in their efforts to achieve reconciliation, he said.
He expressed his "sincere appreciation" of President Abbas's efforts to find a peaceful solution.