Former US president Bill Clinton compared the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to “an abscessed tooth” Monday, and said America cannot just leave the intractable situation alone.
“You’ve got to decide whether a foreign policy problem is a scab on your knee after you fall down or an abscessed tooth,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN. “With the scab, you want to let it alone. It will cure itself if you will just let it alone. Time passing is good. With an abscessed tooth, all you’re going to do is become sick and more infected if you don’t deal with it.”
On Sunday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also urged greater movement on solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He called on the international community to bolster its financial support for the Palestinian Authority, and warned that failure to do so would have a destabilizing effect on the entire region.
“I urge donors to meet the immediate shortfall of $400 million. But we must also break the annual cycle of fiscal crises that hamper the PA’s ability to sustain its state-building achievements,” he said. “Sustainable economic growth that benefits Palestinians, while increasing the PA’s revenue through taxation, is essential now more than ever.”
The secretary general’s comments come as the PA is facing a severe fiscal crisis. The PA announced budget cuts and tax hikes two weeks ago — and then rescinded some of the most drastic measures after violent protests erupted across the West Bank. European ministers have blamed the poor economic situation in Gaza and the West Bank on Israel.
Ban also called on Israel to ease movement and access restrictions in order to boost the Palestinian private sector.
His statement was delivered to an Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, a 12-member body that serves as the principal policy-level coordinator for development assistance to the Palestinians, by the under-secretary general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.
Ban also underlined that, in spite of recent achievements by the PA, the lack of progress on resolving the conflict with Israel, the expansion of settlements, and the continued Palestinian divide continue to threaten the viability of a two-state solution — referring to the current situation as “unsustainable.”
“By the end of this year, yet another timeline for reaching a negotiated solution will have lapsed. The establishment of a viable, democratic and sovereign State of Palestine living side by side with Israel is long overdue,” Ban said. “It is time for the international community to work seriously with the parties in the coming months to chart a new, credible, political path towards achieving that vision.”