UN Secretary-General Ban in Israel to meet with PM Netanyahu & President Rivlin in effort to find ‘political solution’ to current wave of Palestinian violence before his meeting with PA President Abbas.
By Ynet reporters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of “joining ISIS and Hamas in claiming that Israel threatens the al-Aqsa mosque” on Tuesday evening during a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Abbas, Netanyahu said, “unfortunately has been fanning the flames. He said on September 16, 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.”
The prime minister insisted to Ban that “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,” he said. “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.”
Ban arrived in Israel for a visit in an effort to bring about a stop to the current wave of violence
“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,” Netanyahu told the UN secretary-general.
Earlier, Ban met with President Reuven Rivlin, urging an end to hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians and noting that “Violence only undermines the legitimate Palestinian aspirations for statehood, and of the longing of Israelis for security and peace.”
“My visit reflects the sense of global alarm at the dangerous escalation in the violence between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said, calling to “come back from this dangerous abyss” and “safeguard the two state solution.”
Rivlin, meanwhile, told the UN secretary general that “The Temple Mount is being held hostage by people who want to bring about a religious war. We cannot allow this. Israel has no war with Islam.”
Amid allegations from the Palestinians that Israel was trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount by allowing Jewish prayer, the president stressed that “Israel has not, and will not, change one letter of the status quo agreement. The agreement was not meant to divide the different faiths, but to build understanding. Israel will continue to respect the rights of the Muslim worshippers, and the holiness of the site.”
He called on the United Nations “to work against any escalation of the conflict,” adding that “UNESCO must reject any attempt to deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.”
Ban arrived in Israel following a visit to Europe, and was greeted by Danny Danon, who will officially become Israel’s UN Ambassador on Wednesday.
In preparation of his visit, Secretary Ban published a video, addressing both sides.
In it, Ban asks Palestinian youths to “Demand progress for a political solution,” saying, “I am dismayed – as we all should be – when I see young people, children, picking up weapons and seeking to kill. Let me be clear: Violence will only undermine the legitimate Palestinian aspirations for statehood and the longing of Israelis for security.”
Ban continued, “To the youth of Palestine I say, I understand your frustration. I know your hopes for peace have been dashed countless times. You are angry at the continued occupation and expansion of settlements. Many of you are disappointed in your leaders and in us, the international community, because of our inability to end this occupation.”
Addressing the Israeli public, Ban called for leaders to take responsibility regarding illegal construction in settlements, saying that he understands the fear Israeli citizens feel these days. “I appreciate your genuine concern about peace and security. I also understand the anger many Israelis feel,” he said.
Statements by PM Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonStatements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.Video: GPO
Posted by The Prime Minister of Israel on Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Continuing, Ban told Israelis that “When children are afraid to go to school, when anyone on the street is a potential victim, security is rightly your immediate priority. But walls, checkpoints, harsh responses by the security forces and house demolitions cannot sustain the peace and safety that you need and must have.”
Despite the terror wave: Official visits go on
Hundreds of foreign officials are currently visiting Israel, as part of delegations and attending conferences organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government bodies.
Yitzhak Benhorin and Itamar Eichner contributed to this report.
View original Ynet publication at: