During his final trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories as Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon emphasized that peace can only come through “direct negotiations” between the two parties.
“No solution can come through violence, it must be based on mutual respect and the recognition of the legitimate aspirations of both peoples,” Ban said at a press conference held with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, The Times of Israel reported. “No solution can be imposed from the outside, it must be based on direct negotiations on the final status issues,” he added.
Ban’s call for direct negotiations seemed to be a rejection of multilateral efforts, such as the one currently being pursued by France, that would allow the Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations with Israel.
The outgoing secretary general also condemned Palestinian violence, saying, “Stabbings, vehicle rammings and shootings have only one name: terrorism.” He called on Palestinian leadership to stop encouraging terrorism, saying, “Incitement to such acts and glorification of their perpetrators are unacceptable and must be stopped.”
He also hailed the progress that Israel made in expanding its role within the UN during his term, especially in the field of sustainable development.
Netanyahu expressed his appreciation to Ban for making efforts to fight anti-Israel bias at the UN during his tenure as secretary general, but lamented that the institution still remains hostile to Israel:
Regrettably, the goal of treating Israel fairly remains unfulfilled across a wide spectrum of UN activities and UN forums. Your visit here comes as the UN Human Rights Council is meeting. As it always does, the Council will condemn Israel, a country that does more to promote and protect human rights and liberal values than any other in the blood soaked Middle East.
Our progressive democracy has faced more country-specific resolutions, more country-specific condemnations at the UN Human Rights Council than all the other countries combined. And I believe this is a profound betrayal of the United Nations noble mandate.
Ban came under fire earlier this year for referring to Palestinian terrorism as “human nature,” or a natural reaction to occupation, without addressing Palestinian failures to negotiate in good faith with Israel or the Palestinian terrorism that preceded the occupation.
MK Yair Lapid said in a speech last week that the UN had lost all credibility due to its anti-Israel bias.
[Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90 ]