UN Secretary General Hits Israel for "50 Years of Occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza

UN Secretary General Hits Israel for "50 Years of Occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza
U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres adresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. By any definition, that war must be seen as a war of Arab aggression with the objective of the extermination of Israel and the ethnic cleansing of its Jewish inhabitants. In a virtuoso performance of planning, combat leadership, and guts, Israel routed Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The fact that all the Arab nations that were involved in this war lost territory should serve as an object lesson as to what happens when you lose wars.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, issued this statement:

Today marks 50 years since the start of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.

This occupation has imposed a heavy humanitarian and development burden on the Palestinian people. Among them are generation after generation of Palestinians who have been compelled to grow-up and live in ever more crowded refugee camps, many in abject poverty, and with little or no prospect of a better life for their children.

The occupation has shaped the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. It has fuelled recurring cycles of violence and retribution. Its perpetuation is sending an unmistakable message to generations of Palestinians that their dream of statehood is destined to remain just that, a dream; and to Israelis that their desire for peace, security and regional recognition remains unattainable.

Ending the occupation that began in 1967 and achieving a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty. It is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Now is not the time to give up on this goal. Continued settlement construction and expansion; violence and incitement; and the illicit arms build-up and militant activity in Gaza risk creating a one-state reality that is incompatible with realizing the legitimate national and historic aspirations of both peoples.

Now is the time to return to direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law.

Now is the time to end the conflict by establishing an independent Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel.

Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remove a driver of violent extremism and terrorism in the Middle East and open the doors to cooperation, security, prosperity and human rights for all.

In 1947, on the basis of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, the world recognized the two-state solution and called for the emergence of “independent Arab and Jewish states”.

On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born.

Almost seven decades later, the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state.

The Secretary-General reiterates his offer to work with all relevant stakeholders to support a genuine peace process.

There is a hat tip to the violence and intransigence of the Palestinians but the subtext is unmistakable. This is Israel’s fault. There is no mention of the fact that the Palestinians exist in refugee camps because the hosting governments don’t want them but they do want the anti-Israel issue. The solution he is offering is one that is never going to happen, which is Israel returning to pre-1967 boundaries.

Israel’s ambassador was not all that amused:

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, responded by saying that attacks on Israel by its neighbors did not begin in 1967.

“Any attempt at a moral equivalency between killing innocent people and the building of homes is absurd,” he said.

Instead of spreading “Palestinian misinformation” the UN should stick to the facts, Danon added.

“It is preposterous to blame terror and violence in the Middle East on the one true democracy in the region,” he said. “The moment the Palestinian leadership abandons terror, ceases to incite against our people and finally returns to direct negotiations, then real progress can be made towards peace.”

Despite Nikki Haley’s best efforts, the UN is and will remain a hotbed of anti-Semitism. Guterres is probably the most fair minded Secretary General in decades and he’s actually called people out on anti-Semitism but even he can’t be forced to admit that the 1967 War was the outcome of an Arab plan to wage an aggressive war, that the Palestinian refugee problem is a creation of the Arab states, and that Israel has as much right to defensible borders as the Palestinians do to a state they really don’t deserve.

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