Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday accused the United Nations chief of “stoking terror” after Ban Ki-moon said, in connection with the wave of Palestinian deadly terror attacks, that it was “human nature to react to occupation.”
“There is no justification for terrorism,” Netanyahu said. “The Palestinian terrorists don’t want to build a state; they want to destroy a state, and they say that proudly. They want to murder Jews everywhere and they state that proudly. They don’t murder for peace and they don’t murder for human rights.”
The UN has “lost its neutrality and its moral force, and these statements by the Secretary-General do nothing to improve its situation,” Netanyahu said in a furious video statement. Ban’s remarks, said Netanyahu, “stoke terror.”
Ban had attributed the terror attacks in the past four months, in which over 25 Israelis have been killed, to “Palestinian frustration.”
“Stabbings, vehicle attacks, and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians – all of which I condemn — and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, have continued to claim lives,” Ban had said earlier in the day at a session of the UN Security Council.
“But security measures alone will not stop the violence. They cannot address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians –- especially young people. The full force of the law must be brought to bear on all those committing crimes –- with a system of justice applied equally for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” said Ban.
“Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process,” Ban continued. “Some have taken me to task for pointing out this indisputable truth. Yet, as oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”
In response to Ban, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the UN chief’s comments “harm the global fight against terror, that Israel is leading, and gives legitimacy to those murderers to continue attacking.”
Addressing the UN Security Council’s periodic Middle East debate, Ban Ki-moon also urged both sides to act now “to prevent the two-state solution from slipping away forever.” He condemned rocket fire from terror groups in Gaza into Israel and called for an end to incitement. Progress toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians requires that Israel freeze its settlement construction, the UN secretary-general said Tuesday, calling the settlement activities “an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community.”
Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour urged the council to act. He later told reporters that all 15 council members acknowledged that Israel’s settlement building is “the main obstacle to any meaningful political process.” He said the Palestinians are meeting with all council members to assess their readiness to act this year.
Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, did not address settlement-building. He instead showed reporters what he called “terror dolls” that he said are used to teach hatred to Palestinian children. Israel seized the dolls at Haifa port last month, saying they were headed for the Palestinian Authority and were part of an incitement campaign.
“The UN Secretary-General is encouraging terror instead of fighting terror,” he said.
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid also rushed to denounce Ban’s remarks.
“Terrorism against innocent civilians can not be justified. No one should provide excuses for it, especially not the UN Secretary-General. Terrorism against innocent civilians is the result of nothing except the murderous insanity of the perpetrators,” he said.
“There are millions of people in the world whose lives are harder than those of the Palestinians,” Lapid continued. “In Africa, in Asia, in the Middle East. There are hundreds of millions of people in the world for whom the UN didn’t create a special body and to whom the UN didn’t send billions of dollars (and then stood to one side while a corrupt government stole it).
“For some reason those people don’t think there is anything, anything at all, which gives them license to take a knife and stab a mother of six. To take a knife and stab a woman who is five months pregnant. To take a knife and stab a wonderful 23 year old woman who had never harmed anyone.”