Ban Ki-moon: 'I don't think there is discrimination against Israel at UN'

Secretary-general denies reports he told students during J'lem visit that there is bias in the UN against Israel.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 370 (R) (photo credit: Ki Price / Reuters)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 370 (R)
(photo credit: Ki Price / Reuters)
NEW YORK – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon denied on Monday there is any bias in the UN against Israel.
At a press “encounter” at the UN Headquarters in New York, a reporter for Israel Radio pressed Ban about his comments last Friday while meeting with students at the UN headquarters in Jerusalem.
Ban simply said, “I don’t think there is discrimination against Israel at the United Nations.”
He continued, “The Israeli government maybe raised this issue that there’s some bias against Israel, but Israel is one of the 193 member states. Thus, Israel should have equal rights and opportunities without having any bias, any discrimination. That’s a fundamental principle of the United Nations charter. And thus, Israel should be fully given such rights.”
In Jerusalem last week, the secretary- general reportedly admitted to students that there is bias against Israel in the UN.
“Unfortunately because of the conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias – sometimes even discrimination,” Ban said at the time, according to several media sources.
On Monday in New York, Ban retracted these comments, and emphasized that “incitement against any group of people, any religion or tradition… is unacceptable.”
At the same press event, Ban also called the renewed Israeli- Palestinian talks a “fresh opportunity for real progress,” and called on leaders from both sides to “seize this historic opportunity.”
His statements were echoed by head of UNHCR Navi Pillay, who expressed her enthusiasm for the renewed peace talks.
Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the bombing of the Baghdad UN Headquarters, an attack that killed 22 people, including the then-head of the UN High Commission on Human Rights, Sergio Vieira de Mello, Pillay paid tribute to her predecessor in her remarks to the UN Security Council.
The UN marks August 19th as World Humanitarian Day.
Speaking via video conference from Geneva, Pillay said that “the talks can only achieve tangible results if the protection of human rights is placed at the center.”
During their meeting on Monday morning to discuss the protection of civilians in armed conflict, an item that has been ongoing on the Security Council’s agenda, Pillay added, “The illegal blockade of Gaza that places restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights must be lifted.”