UN Secretary General calls for calm between Israel and Palestine

UN Secretary General calls for calm between Israel and Palestine

-NRN/Reuters

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Palestinians and Israel to step back from a “dangerous abyss” as he arrived on a snap visit to the region as the head of international efforts to quell three weeks of violence.

The bloodshed began with a string of stabbing attacks on Israelis in Jerusalem. One reason given by Palestinians for the violence is anger over perceived Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine, also revered by Jews as the site of two biblical temples.

Speaking moments after arriving, Mr Ban said the wave of unrest was undermining Palestinian hopes for statehood and Israel’s longing for security.

“This conflict has gone on for far too long,” he said. “We must, for the future of our children, come back from this dangerous abyss, safeguard the two-state solution and lead people back onto the road towards peace.”

The UN leader’s trip later met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. He will see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah later today, Palestinian officials said.

Mr Ban said he will also meet in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah tomorrow.

Meanwhile U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who said he will hold talks with Netanyahu either in the Middle East or this week in Germany, has said Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to clarify the status of al-Aqsa compound to stop the violence.

Mr Kerry planned to meet Abbas and King Abdullah, probably in Amman, later this week.

Palestinians are fuming at what they see as increased Jewish visits to the al-Aqsa plaza, where non-Muslim prayer has been banned for centuries. Israel insists it has made no changes to the rules at the site.

But the Israeli Prime Minister has denied these claims.

“President Abbas has joined ISIS and Hamas in claiming that Israel threatens the al-Aqsa mosque. This, Mr. Secretary, is a total lie. Israel vigorously protects the holy sites of all faiths. We keep the status quo.”

Meanwhile President Abbas said Palestinians were also increasingly frustrated with the failure of peace talks to secure themselves a state. The last round of negotiations collapsed in April 2014.

“Our youth is pressured and desperate over the Israeli government’s failure and the absence of any political future that would provide hope of a fair and just peace allowing our people to be independent beside the state of Israel,” Mr Abbas said in Ramallah.

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Amy Whittaker
Amy Whittaker 1402 posts

Amy joined the NRN team in August 2011, before graduating from a B of Arts (Communication-Journalism)/B of Sports Studies from Charles Sturt University in December 2011.

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