Netanyahu and Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday that the UN's actions during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza over the summer helped Hamas terrorists in their targeting of Israeli citizens with rockets.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with the visting UN chief, Netanyahu said that Gaza terrorists had violated the neutrality of the UN by using their schools and other facilities to launch and store rockets. The prime minister said that UN personnel who found the rockets hidden in UN facilities returned them to Hamas who then continued to fire them at Israeli population centers.
"When they found rockets in UN schools, UN officials returned them to Hamas, the same Hamas that fired the same rockets on Israeli cities and Israeli citizens..the real reason for the rocket fire from Hamas is their refusal to recognize Israel's existence. Hamas doesn't care about 1967 lines. For them, Israel doesn't have a right to exist, under any borders...just read their manifest because it is written clearly there," Netanyahu told Ban.
The prime minister told the UN chief that the Israeli "occupation" of Gaza is not responsible for the violence in Gaza because Israel does not occupy Gaza.
"Israel left every centimeter of Gaza, every inch. We pulled out the settlements and cleared out the residents, so there is no occupation in Gaza. The main reason for the violence over the summer was Hamas rockets on Israeli cities. The rocket attacks broke the neutrality of the UN when they used their spaces and their schools," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu continued and said that for these reasons, Hamas is "everyone's" enemy and that real peace is only possible through negotiations with those who want it.
He then spoke of the recent steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to gain recognition at the UN.
"The unilateral moves of the Palestinians in the UN aren't helping peace, the opposite is true, they are making the situation worse, something no one wants," he said.
Netanyahu also spoke about rioting and violence at the Temple Mount in recent days, saying that Israel is obligated to uphold the status quo, as it has done for decades. He said that Israel respects religious freedom and that Muslim holy sites are also protected, but that police must keep peace and order.