UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday that any effort to stop growing violence between Islamic and Western societies must include an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Annan spoke after receiving a report from a high-level group of experts on ways to alleviate Muslim-Western clashes and misunderstandings.
"We may wish to think of the Arab-Israeli conflict as just one regional conflict amongst many," said Annan, who leaves his post at the end of the year. "It is not. No other conflict carries such a powerful symbolic and emotional charge among people far removed from the battlefield."
Annan said he would work along with his successor, Ban Ki-moon, to help implement the recommendations of the report, which called for renewed efforts toward the goal of establishing "two fully sovereign and independent states co-existing side by side in peace and security."
"As long as the Palestinians live under occupation, exposed to daily frustration and humiliation, and as long as Israelis are blown up in buses and in dance halls, so long will passions everywhere be inflamed," Annan said.