NEW YORK – In his last address to the UN Security Council on Friday, outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recognized that Israel is subject to strong bias in the international body, something that Israeli ambassadors to the UN, including Danny Danon today, have raised their voices about for years.
“Decades of political maneuverings have created a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticizing Israel,” Ban said. “In many cases, rather than helping the Palestinian cause, this reality has hampered the ability of the UN to fulfill its role effectively.”
“The secretary-general admitted the clear truth, the UN’s hypocrisy towards Israel has broken records over the past decade,” Danon said in reaction to the statement.
“During this time the UN passed 223 resolutions condemning Israel while only eight resolutions condemning the Syrian regime as it has massacred its citizens over the past six years. This is absurd.
With a new secretary-general set to take office next month, we look forward to the possibility of a new era of fairness at the UN.”
The outgoing secretary-general chose to speak about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for his last speech at the Security Council because: “While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the cause of the wars in the Middle East, its resolution can create momentum for peace throughout the region.”
“The right of the Jewish people to have a state does not negate the right of the Palestinian people to statehood,” Ban added. “At the same time, Israel must realize that the reality, in which a democratic state governed by the rule of law keeps the Palestinian people under military occupation, will continue to generate criticism and calls for accountability.”
He added that “the expanding Israeli settlement enterprise and an ever-more-entrenched status quo is preventing Palestinian development and locking in Gaza,” and that “settlements eat away at the land meant for a future Palestinian state.”
“Progress in this area, however, will be difficult unless the Palestinian authorities take brave and concrete steps to address incitement and violence,” he added.
The secretary-general reiterated the Security Council’s position that “Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been under military occupation since 1967.”
“Palestinian frustration and grievances are growing under the weight of nearly half a century of humiliating occupation,” Ban said. “Leaders on both sides increasingly speak to their ever-more radicalized constituencies, rather than to each other.”
Ban also criticized “some Israeli politicians” for promoting the full annexation of the West Bank and urged them to reconsider advancing the recent settlement bill that would legalize Israeli settlement homes on private Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Speaking of the situation in Gaza, he said the area is “a tinder box.”
“It is almost certain to explode unless movement and access restrictions are lifted and humanitarian needs are addressed; unless rocket attacks, tunnel construction and smuggling stop; unless progress is made on establishing a Palestinian state, with Gaza an integral and peaceful part,” Ban said.
He continued by slamming Hamas for its “antisemitic charter that aspires to the obliteration of Israel. Hamas must, once and for all, renounce the use of violence and recognize the right of Israel to exist alongside a Palestinian state, in accordance with all relevant Security Council resolutions and previous agreements between the parties.”
Since becoming secretary- general 10 years ago, Ban has visited the region 11 times, including during periods of war. He will step down from his position at the end of the month and will be succeeded by former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres.