United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election victory UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Netanyahu on Friday and urged him to renew Israel's commitment to a "two-state solution" to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to clarify on Thursday comments made during his election campaign that a Palestinian state would not emerge under his tenure.
"The secretary general reiterated his view that the two-state solution was the only way forward and urged the prime minister to renew Israel's commitment to that goal," AFP quoted Ban's spokesman as saying.
"The secretary-general also urged the prime minister to release the tax revenue
currently held by Israel but owed to the Palestinian Authority," the statement added.
In January, Israel froze the transfer of some NIS 500 million in tax collections to the Palestinian Authority.
The move came as a protest of the formal application for membership of the International Criminal Court that was filed on behalf of the “State of Palestine.” US and French reactionsA White House official
told The Jerusalem Post
that US President Barack Obama told Netanyahu in a phone call on Thursday that the US "will need to reassess our options following the prime minister’s new positions and comments regarding the two-state solution."
"The prime minister's comments call into question his commitment to the pursuit of peace and have forced the US government to reassess the the government's stance on the Middle East peace process, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday.
On Friday, President Francois Hollande congratulated Netanyahu on his victory after the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called on Israel on Wednesday to revive "negotiations for an agreement on a comprehensive and a final peace" with the Palestinians based on a two-state solution.
"Only the creation of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel, will ensure peace and prosperity in the Middle East," Fabius said, AFP reported.
"It is in Israel's interest to go this way," Fabius said.
Michael Wilner contributed to this report.