Ban condemns ongoing Israeli-Palestinian clashes

NEW YORK, Jan 26 (KUNA) – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council that 2016 has begun much like 2015 ended, “with unacceptable levels of violence and a polarized public discourse across the spectrum in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.” Ban spoke in an open debate, led by Uruguay Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa, discussing the situation in the middle east and the Palestinian question.
He condemned the clashes between Palestine and Israeli security forces, adding that the that security measures alone will not stop the violence. “They cannot address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians, especially young people,” he said.
The UN Chief said he was deeply troubled by reports today that the Israeli Government has approved plans for over 150 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
He said that these “provocative” acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead. Therefore, he urged the Israeli government not to use the recent decision by the Israeli High Court affirming a large tract of land south of Bethlehem as state land to advance settlement activities.
On his part, the Palestinian Foreign Minster Riyad Malki appealed to the Council for “action” on behalf of the Palestinian people, who are entitled and demanding their freedom, and on behalf of all those who seek and promote peace and justice.
In recent months, he said, several States have taken initiatives and shown leadership and understanding for the urgency to act and prioritize this matter among the many other priority issues they are cooperatively working to resolve. “It is time for a collective process for Palestinian-Israeli peace,” he affirmed.
Malki said it is time for the Security Council to reflect the expressed will of its members and the international community it is mandated to represent. Therefore, the Palestinian official said excuses, mild positions and half measures will not suffice.
Expressing appreciation to the strong positions expressed by all Security Council members and the international community at large against Israeli settlement activities, these positions must be translated into action, he added. The action must involve measures by all States and go beyond not rendering aid or assistance to holding Israel accountable for its actions, Malki stressed.
“The international will is being tested, and failure is not an option,” he concluded. (end) mao.bs