Israel’s UN ambassador on Monday said the Palestinian leadership has started using recent statements by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “to justify deplorable acts of terror,” and he called on the UN chief to withdraw them.
In a letter to Ban, Danny Danon cited recent Palestinian killings of Israelis. He said Ban’s statements have been interpreted as creating “two categories of terror: terror directed at Israelis and terror directed at the rest of the world.”
Addressing the UN Security Council last month, the secretary general urged Israel to freeze settlement-building, calling it “an affront to the Palestinian people.” He also expressed understanding of Palestinian frustrations, saying that “as oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation.”
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that Ban “stands by every word he has used.”
Dujarric said the secretary general has repeatedly condemned “terror and has said that absolutely nothing, nothing, justifies terrorism.”
But Israeli officials have characterized Ban’s statements as justification for terror attacks.
Danon quoted Raafat Alian, the Jerusalem spokesman for the Palestinian Fatah party, as telling the Donia Al-Watan news site that Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people “cannot go unanswered without natural responses.”
“Rather than criticizing Israel, a country that has lost so many of its citizens to terror, the UN should hold the perpetrators responsible,” Danon wrote.
The secretary general responded to earlier Israeli criticism of his remarks in a New York Times opinion piece last week entitled “Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel.”
Ban wrote that he would always stand up for Israel’s right to exist, but added that “the time has come for Israelis, Palestinians and the international community to read the writing on the wall: The status quo is untenable. Keeping another people under indefinite occupation undermines the security and the future of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
On Saturday, Ban was met with jeers and heckling at the Park East Synagogue in New York, where he delivered an address to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Congregants at the Manhattan synagogue accused the UN chief of justifying terror, with some saying his comments attributing a wave of near-daily Palestinian attacks to “frustration” was like rationalizing the 9/11 attacks, the Walla news site reported.
In a furious response to the UN secretary general’s remarks two weeks ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused him of “stoking terror.” The UN has “lost its neutrality and its moral force, and these statements by the secretary general do nothing to improve its situation,” he said in a video statement.
Ban subsequently reiterated his harsh criticism of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, but stressed that his words under no circumstances amounted to a justification for terror attacks.
Ban did not mention Israel in his speech on Saturday.