Natanyahu to visiting UN chief: Direct negotiations only path to Israel-Palestinian peace

At a meeting in Jerusalem with visiting UN chief, PM Netanyahu says Palestinian extremists continue to incite recent Temple Mount violence by rioting & spreading baseless lies of imagined Israeli threat.

By and DPA

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at the beginning of his talks with visiting United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that real peace between Israel and the Palestinians would only be possible through bilateral negotiations with those who want peace.

Netanyahu and Ban shake hands before their meeting in Jerusalem, October 13, 2014.

Netanyahu and Ban shake hands before their meeting in Jerusalem, October 13, 2014. – Photo: Reuters

Unilateral Palestinian steps in the United Nations will not advance the cause of peace, Netanyahu told the UN chief. On the contrary, Netanyahu argued, they would only serve to exacerbate the situation, which no one wants.

Netanyahu also told Ban that Palestinian extremists had incited the recent violence on Temple Mount by spreading false, baseless rumors about an imagined Israeli threat on the Muslim holy places. Nothing is farther from the truth, he said. Netanyahu stressed that he and Israel are obliged to maintain the status quo as it has been for dozens of years.

The prime minister said Israel strictly protects the holy places and the right of people of all religions to pray at their holy sites. He added that Israel would continue to protect the arrangement as well as freedom of worship.

Upon arrival in the region for the two-day visit, Ban expressed concern that time was running out for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We urge the Palestinians to show courage and continue with the peace process, and we urge Israel to do the same,” Ban said. “I welcome renewed international political leadership and action. Time is not on the side of peace. We need to act immediately to prevent a deepening of an already unsustainable status quo… this is the only way to avoid yet another tragic conflict in the future,” he said.

View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.620586

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