Jan 30,2016 – JORDAN TIMES EDITORIAL
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon used strong words against Israel’s latest plan to build yet 153 more housing units in the West Bank during a recent UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East.
The UN head criticised Israel’s settlement activities, calling them “provocative acts”.
Israel’s decision to appropriate a large tract of fertile land in the occupied West Bank, near Jordan, where it already has many settlement farms built on land on which Palestinians want to establish their state, left Ban “deeply troubled”.
“These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead,” Ban told the United Nations Security Council.
“Continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community. They rightly raise fundamental questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution,” he said in uncharacteristic blunt language.
“Progress towards peace,” the UN head told the council, “requires a freeze of Israeli settlement enterprise”.
While also condemning Palestinian stabbings of Israelis, and the resort to violence, in general, Ban cautioned that occupation is bound to breed hatred and radicalise the population suffering under it.
He also spoke of the growing Palestinian frustrations after some 50 years of Israeli occupation.
“Palestinians’ frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process,” he said, adding that “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”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s expected reaction was to dismiss the UN head’s remarks, which, he said, “bolster terrorism”.
His statement defies logic and shows the state of mind of the leader of a country that claims to seek peace with its neighbours.
No sane person can expect a people to remain docile and peaceful under a cruel occupation that holds no promise, not now and not in the foreseeable future.
Even Israel’s strongest ally, the US, finds settlements unhelpful.
“Steps aimed at advancing the Israeli settlement programme… are fundamentally incompatible with the two-state solution and raise legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions,” US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, told the council.
Israel needs to understand that to leave in peace, it needs to offer peace.
Violence against it will only stop when its occupation of Palestinian lands ends.
As simple as that.