30 March 2011 | Palestine News Network
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a halt to Israel’s settlement building in the Palestinian territories, an end to all expressions of violence and the punishment of those perpetrating it, adding that Israel’s occupation is morally and politically unsustainable.
“Time is of the essence in realizing the two-state solution,” Ki-moon told Latin American and Caribbean delegates at a meeting in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace. “The occupation that started in 1967 is morally and politically unsustainable, and must end. The Palestinians have a legitimate right to the establishment of an independent and viable State of their own.”
The message was delivered in Montevideo, Uruguay by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
On the issue of realizing a Palestinian state in September, as agreed on by the internationally endorsed Road Map plan for a two-state solution, Ban said:
“The target dates for reaching an Israeli-Palestinian agreement on permanent status issues and completing the Palestinian Authority’s two-year State-building programme are fast-approaching. Yet, the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations remain at a worrying standstill. We must intensify efforts to break the deadlock.”
Palestinian – Israeli talks were jump-started by the US last September. However, two weeks later the talks stopped when Israeli refused to freeze construction in West Bank settlements, a demand set forth by the Palestinians as well as the White House.
Secretary Ban appealed to the international donors to help building viable State and praised the efforts of the Palestinian Authrity, led by President Mahmoud Abbas for its work in achieving that goal. He also acknowledged the Palestinian security forces’ efforts to maintain security in areas under their control in the West Bank and called on Israel to take further steps to improve economic and security conditions by reducing obstacles to movement, halting military operations, and enabling the PA to control more West Bank areas.
As for Israel’s five year long siege of the Gaza Strip, Ki-moon said Israel must further ease its blockade of the costal enclave. The Secretary-General also condemned the home-made shells fired from Gaza at Israeli targets near the Strip as well as the killing and wounding of Gaza civilians, including children, in Israeli airstrikes.
“Israel has the right to live in peace and security within internationally recognized and secure borders,” he said. “A way must be found for Jerusalem to emerge as a capital of two States, Israel and Palestine, with arrangements for holy sites acceptable for all. And there must be a just and agreed solution to the prolonged plight of the Palestinian refugees.”
The two-day meeting will focus on issues linked to encouraging support from Latin American and Caribbean States for restarting the Israeli-Palestinian political process, including the impact of settlement expansion, the question of Jerusalem, building trust, and diplomatic recognition of Palestinian statehood by governments of the region, including Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
“The Committee welcomes such timely gestures and hopes that other regions will follow soon, thereby helping the Palestinian people carry through with their independence and sovereignty,” Committee Chairman Abdou Salam Diallo told the meeting.