United Nations chief urges Israelis, Palestinians to resume negotiations
Fifty years ago Israel shocked the world when it seized the remaining Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights, and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, in a matter of six days war.
Guterres made no mention of their own choices in the matter, the numerous rejections of peace proposals rejected by the Palestinian Authority leadership and the refusal by those living in camps who chose not to move out and make a better life for themselves elsewhere, including in the PA.
Some 6,500 Palestinians are now being held in Israeli jails, many of whom were convicted of attacks or planning attacks against Israelis.
The “occupation”, claimed Guterres, “has fuelled recurring cycles of violence and retribution”. It is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
“Now is not the time to give up on this goal”, he said. He said that an end to the occupation and reaching a two-state agreement in direct negotiations “on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, agreements and global law” could end the 50 year old situation and described it as “the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace” that would answer the desires of the two parties.
Some 2.9 million Palestinians live in the West Bank today, about 430,000 live in the settlements and another 200,000 in East Jerusalem; these settlements make it impossible for the divided state to unite.
Guterres says ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would open doors to cooperation and security. And most Israeli national security experts, including a vast majority of former military generals and former Mossad and Shin-Bet chiefs, point out that a two-state solution is necessary for Israel’s survival as a democracy and a Jewish state.
Within 20 years of being recognised as an independent state, Israel began an occupation that would become the longest in modern history, at 50 years and counting.
On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born, but nearly seven decades later, “the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state, ” he said, offering once again to work with all relevant stakeholders to support a genuine peace process.
“The Secretary-General reiterates his offer to work with all relevant stakeholders to support a genuine peace process”.