(JTA) – Palestinian violence against Israel is a result of Palestinian “frustration” over “a half- century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process,” United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
Ban called on Israel to freeze building in the settlements and to apply justice equally for Israelis and Palestinians in an address Tuesday to the UN Security Council.
He condemned the four-month spate of stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Jewish-Israelis and added that clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces have continued to claim lives.
“But security measures alone will not stop the violence,” Ban said. “They cannot address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians – especially young people. It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”
Ban said West Bank Jewish settlements, or “so-called facts on the ground in the occupied West Bank,” are “steadily chipping away the viability of a Palestinian state and the ability of Palestinian people to live in dignity.”
He said he was “deeply troubled” by reports of Israel approving more than 150 new homes in West Bank settlements, as well as an announcement declaring 370 acres in the West Bank as state land.
“These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead,” Ban said. “The parties must act – and act now – to prevent the two-state solution from slipping away forever.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Ban’s remarks, saying they “provide a tail-wind for terror.”
“There is no justification for terror. Those Palestinians who murder do not want to build a state, they want to destroy a state and they say this openly,” Netanyahu said. “They want to murder Jews for being Jews, and say this publicly. They don’t murder for peace and they don’t murder for human rights.”
The Israeli leader also criticized the UN’s positions on his country.
“The United Nations long ago lost its neutrality and its moral force,” Netanyahu said, “and the secretary-general’s remarks do not improve its standing.”