Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of twisting his words to make it seem as though he was justifying terrorism.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York on Wednesday.
“Anyone is free to chose what they like or dislike from the secretary- general’s speeches. Words can continue to be twisted, but the grave reality cannot be obstructed.”
On Tuesday, Ban angered Netanyahu when he told the UN Security Council in New York that “it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”
In response, Netanyahu accused Ban of proving “a tailwind for terrorism.”
On Wednesday, Dujarric responded directly to the prime minister’s comment, and said Ban “rejects” that language. The secretary-general, Dujarric said, “stands by every word” he used in his address to the UNSC.
“He condemns the stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians,” Dujarric said, adding: “Nothing justifies terrorism. We have to work together to fight the sources and the causes that fuel that terrorism.
“Israelis and Palestinians and the international community needs to read the writing on the wall: The status quo is untenable, it undermines the security of Israelis and the future of Palestinians.”
Later in the day, Ban addressed the opening session in New York of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Palestinians, said Ban, especially those who are young, are losing hope.
“They are angered by the stifling policies of the occupation,” he said. “They are frustrated by the strictures in their daily lives.
They watch as Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem, expand and expand.”
According to the UN, settlements are illegal under international law and threaten to destroy the two-state solution, he said.
He urged Israel to take steps in Area C of the West Bank, which is under its military and civilian control, to improve conditions for the Palestinians.
“The UN is committed to working to create the conditions for the parties to return to meaningful negotiations,” he said.