UN secretary-general says settlements drive conflict, slams ’unilateral initiatives’
Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemns violence on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and says Israeli actions are fueling tensions.
“2022 was a deadly year for both Palestinians and Israelis. We condemn all unlawful killings and acts by extremists. There is no justification for terrorism,” Guterres tells the Security Council at a debate on international law.
“At the same time, the expansion of settlements by Israel, as well as home demolitions and evictions, are driving anger and despair,” Guterres says.
“I am also very concerned by the unilateral initiatives that we have seen in recent days. The rule of law is at the heart of achieving a just and comprehensive peace, based on a two-state solution, in line with UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements,” he says.
The UN and the international community have widely condemned National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount last week, describing it as a unilateral Israeli threat to the status quo.
Israel is one of only a few countries Guterres mentions in his address, along with Russia, North Korea, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Guterres highlights the International Court of Justice and its role in enforcing international law. The top UN court is set to investigate Israel after a highly contentious General Assembly vote last month.
“I note the importance of accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court and call on all Member States to do so without any reservations,” Guterres says.