UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in Israel today, where he cautioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “the security challenges your government is currently facing raise many complicated dilemmas and may require tightening of security measures.”
“However, security measures can be counterproductive if they are applied without special efforts to defuse situations before people lose their lives. If the use of force is not properly calibrated, it may breed the very frustrations and anxieties, from which violence tends to erupt,” Ban said at a joint press conference with Netanyahu.
Bibi reminded Ban that his visit came “at a troubling time.”
“In recent weeks Israelis have been deliberately run over, shot, stabbed and hacked to death, and in large part this is because President Abbas has joined ISIS and Hamas in claiming that Israel threatens the al-Aqsa mosque,” Netanyahu said.
“This, Mr. Secretary, is a total lie. Israel vigorously protects the holy sites of all faiths. We keep the status quo. The Palestinians, by contrast, are the ones who violate the status quo. Palestinians have brought explosives into al-Aqsa mosque. That’s a violation of the status quo. They try violently to prevent Jews and Christians from visiting the Mount. That’s another violation of the status quo. And, Mr. Secretary, they work to convince UNESCO to deny the Jewish people’s historic connection to the Western Wall. These are the real threats to the status quo.”
Netanyahu stressed that “it’s time to tell the truth about the causes of Palestinian terrorism.”
“It’s not the settlements. It’s not the peace process. It’s the desire to destroy the State of Israel, pure and simple,” he said. “President Abbas unfortunately has been fanning the flames. He said on September 16th, just a few days ago, that he welcomes ‘every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.’ That’s a quote. President Abbas has not condemned a single one of the 30 terrorist attacks on Israelis over the last month. And he continues to glorify terrorists as heroes.”
“In the face of this terrorism Israel is acting as any democracy would to defend its citizens. We are not, I repeat, we are not using excessive force.”
Netanyahu added that “if the international community truly wants to help end the bloodshed and the violence, I believe it must affirm Israel’s proven commitment to the status quo on the Temple Mount, it must support Israel’s right to self-defense, and it must hold President Abbas accountable for his dangerous words.”
Ban met earlier with Israeli President Reuben Rivlin, where the UN chief said “the status quo is only making things worse.”
“Beyond the immediate tensions, what is missing is the resolve to restore a political horizon for talks, and a political process that delivers real results and hope,” Ban said. “Violence only undermines the legitimate Palestinian aspirations for statehood and the longing of Israelis for security.”
“…We must, for the future of our children, turn back from this dangerous abyss, safeguard the two-state solution and lead people back onto the road towards peace.”