U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon penned an op-ed in the New York Times on Sunday, defending his statements at the United Nations last week on the current wave of violence in Israel, which some, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu felt justified Palestinian aggression.
"In Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, 2016 has begun much as 2015 ended — with unacceptable levels of violence and a polarized public discourse," Ban began in his piece.
"That polarization showed itself in the halls of the United Nations last week when I pointed out a simple truth: History proves that people will always resist occupation," he said, restating what he had said in his speech last week
He then went on to accuse those who were critical of his statements of "shooting the messenger" by "twisting his words" to seem as though he was justifying the use of violence.
"The stabbings, vehicle rammings and other attacks by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians are reprehensible. So, too, are the incitement of violence and the glorification of killers. Nothing excuses terrorism."
Still, he said, security measures alone will not stop the ongoing violence between Palestinians and Israelis, which have resulted in almost daily stabbings or car-rammings against Israelis, and a considerable number of deaths of Palestinians, majority of whom have committed attacks.
According to Ban, his statements last week were an attempt explain the "frustration and grievances" that Palestinians in the West Bank feel, and according to the UN chief, "ignoring this won't make it go away."
Ban also criticized Israel's expanding of "illegal" settlements, saying that this continued policy leads Palestinians to "lose hope on what seems to be a harsh, humiliating and endless occupation."
He said that a lasting agreement between Israelis and Palestinians will require "difficult compromises by leaders and peoples on both sides," and said that any agreement must require "significant shifts in policies toward the West Bank and Gaza, while safeguarding Israel's legitimate security concerns."
"I will always stand up to those who challenge Israel's right to exist," he asserted, "just as I will always defend the Palestinians to have a state of their own."
Ban finished his statements by being critical of both Palestinian and Israeli factions for their role in the future of a long term agreement, saying that the current stalemate "carries grave risks for both sides," including a continuation of violence, and Israel's isolation in the international arena.
"The time has come for Israelis, Palestinians and the international community to read the writing on the wall: The status quo is untenable," he said.
Israel's UN ambassador, Danny Danon, responded to the article on Monday, saying: "The Palestinian incitement machine produces terrorism, and the words of the UN Secretary General gives legitimacy to terrorism."
"Ban chooses to ignore the reality in Israel ... and backs the Palestinians who incite terrorism. The role of the United Nations is to fight terrorism and not to encourage it," Army Radio quoted Danon as saying.