UNITED NATIONS - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s accusations that he encouraged terror by saying it was human nature for oppressed people to react to occupation while speaking in the Security Council on the Middle East conflict.
“The Secretary General stands by every word that he used in the Security Council,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York. “Some have accused Secretary-General of justifying terrorism. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Dujarric added.
During a meeting of the 15-member Council on Tuesday, the secretary-general connected alleged knife attacks by Palestinian youth to mounting Palestinian frustration and a stalled peace process. “It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism,” Ban said.
However, Netanyahu criticised his statement and accused Ban of “encouraging terror.” “The UN lost its neutrality and moral force a long time ago and the secretary-general’s remarks do not improve the situation,” Netanyahu said. In response to these comments, Dujarric stated that Ban had repeatedly said “nothing, absolutely nothing, justifies terrorism.”|Words can continue to be twisted but the grave reality cannot be obstructed.”
“After nearly 50 years of occupation. Palestinians, especially young Palestinians, are losing hope. Israelis and Palestinians and the international community need to read the writing on the wall: the status is untenable. It undermines the security of Israelis and future of Palestinians,” he added.
Dujarric also highlighted Ban’s remarks that he condemned “stabbings, vehicle attacks, and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians,” adding that security measures will not be enough to end the violence, and “we must address the root causes, the underlying frustration and failure to achieve a political solution.” Since an ongoing wave of violence in the Israeli occupied territories began in October more than 160 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces after alleged attacks or during protests and 30 Israelis and foreigners have been killed over the same period.
Later, at an another event the UN chief reiterated that he can understand why Palestinians are losing hope in the face of nearly 50 years of Israeli occupation. “Young people especially are losing hope,” he told the opening today of the 2016 Session of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, a day after he called on Israel to change its settlement and other policies.
“They are angered by the stifling policies of the occupation. They are frustrated by the strictures on their daily lives. They watch as Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, expand and expand. They are losing faith in their own leadership to deliver genuine national reconciliation and see the dream of a sovereign, contiguous and independent Palestinian state slip away. “The people of Palestine have lived through half a century of occupation, and they have heard half a century of statements condemning it. But life hasn’t meaningfully changed. Children have become grandparents. But life hasn’t changed. We issue statements. We express concern. We voice solidarity.
“But life hasn’t changed. And some Palestinians wonder: Is this all meant to simply run out the clock? They ask: Are we meant to watch as the world endlessly debates how to divide land while it disappears before our very eyes?”
In his speech Wednesday, as he did on Tuesday, the secretary-general noted that he had repeated the “firm position” of the UN that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, threatening to destroy the two-state solution, and that he had highlighted the need for the Palestinian leadership to oppose incitement, improve governance and reunite Gaza and the West Bank under a single legitimate Palestinian Authority.
“All of these points need to be said and they need to be repeated,” he said Wednesday. “If we hope to see an end to this violence, security measures will not be enough - we must address the underlying frustration and failure to achieve a political solution.
“The United Nations is committed to working to create the conditions for the parties to return to meaningful negotiations,” he added, stressing that the one and only path to a just and lasting solution involves an end to the occupation, leading to a sovereign and independent State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel.” That is the two-state solution that the diplomatic Quartet - comprising the UN, European Union, Russia and the United States - has been promoting for 15 years.