(JTA) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “stands by every word” of his address to the Security Council in which he said Palestinian violence against Israel is a result of “frustration,” his spokesman said, and he delivered a similar message the next day.
“Some have accused the secretary-general of justifying terrorism,” the spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said at a news briefing Wednesday. “Nothing could be further from the truth. The secretary-general has repeatedly said that nothing, absolutely nothing justifies terrorism.
“The secretary-general rejects the language that accused him of ‘giving terror a tailwind,’” he continued, referring to criticism by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Ban’s address on Tuesday. “Anyone is free to pick and choose what they like or dislike from the secretary-general’s speeches; words can continue to be twisted, but the grave reality cannot.”
In his address, Ban 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.”
On Wednesday, Ban echoed his remarks to the Security Council at the opening of the 2016 Session of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Young Palestinians, he said, “are angered by the stifling policies of the occupation. They are frustrated by the strictures on their daily lives. They watch as Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, expand and expand. They are losing faith in their own leadership to deliver genuine national reconciliation and see the dream of a sovereign, contiguous and independent Palestinian state slip away.
“The people of Palestine have lived through half a century of occupation, and they have heard half a century of statements condemning it. But life hasn’t meaningfully changed.”