A Palestinian protester uses a sling to throw stones towards Israeli troops during clashes, near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, near the West Bank city of Ramallah November 29, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A top United Nations official called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to put aside political fears and stop ignoring underlying problems fueling violence and a perspective among Palestinian youth that they have "nothing to lose by sacrificing their lives."
UN deputy political affairs chief Miroslav Jenca told the UN Security Council that a recent violent flare-up in the conflict continues to simmer and that leaders on both sides have to stop incitement and stand against acts of terrorism.
A campaign of stabbings, shootings and car rammings by Palestinians has killed 19 Israelis and a US citizen since the beginning of October. Israeli forces have killed at least 110 Palestinians, most of whom the army described as assailants.
"A political horizon to end the conflict now seems more distant than ever. Leaders on both sides cannot continue to ignore the underlying causes perpetuating violence and fueling extremism on all sides," Jenca said.
He called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to "let go of their immediate political fears and focus on the greater good of achieving a sustainable long-term peace."
Jenca said any strategy to tackle the violence needed to "address the primary elements motivating Palestinian anger."
Palestinians seek a state in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 war. The United Nations and most countries consider settlements that Israel has built on territory captured in 1967 as illegal.
"The injustices associated with an occupation which shows no prospect of ending feed into a perspective - particularly among the youth - that they have nothing to lose by sacrificing their lives," Jenca told the 15-member council.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, council president for December, said after the briefing that the 15-member body "emphasized the need for parties to demonstrate their commitment to the two-state solution."