Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) jointly addresses journalists with Reuben Rivlin, President of Israel, in Jerusalem. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
The UN chief arrived earlier today in Jerusalem and began by meeting with the President of Israel, Reuben Rivlin.
A statement issued earlier today by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson stressed that he “has repeatedly expressed his anguish and deep concern at the escalating violence in Israel and Palestine.”
A series of deadly clashes between Palestinians and Israelis, including Israeli security forces, has marked much of October, with violent incidents reported in more than 50 different locations, including in East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Jenin, Tulkarm and Nablus.
According to the statement, the Secretary-General is also expected to meet with Israeli and Palestinian victims of these recent hostilities and terror attacks.
Speaking to the press alongside President Rivlin, Mr. Ban thanked him for receiving him “so warmly and at such short notice.”
“My visit reflects the sense of global alarm at the dangerous escalation in violence between Israelis and Palestinians,” Mr. Ban declared. “I am here to encourage and support all efforts to lower tensions and prevent the situation from spinning out of control.”
The UN chief expressed his condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims of the hostilities and terrorist attacks. “No society should have to live in fear,” he said. “No society can afford to see its youth suffer in hopelessness.”
Mr. Ban stressed that if action is not taken fast, the dynamics on the ground may only get worse, “with serious repercussions in and beyond Israel and Palestine.”
“It is not too late to avoid a broader crisis,” he insisted. “In my meetings today and tomorrow with the Israeli and Palestinian leadership, I will be appealing to all to take concerted steps to limit new incidents on both sides. Violence only begets violence.”
He added that extremists on either side, or those who think violence is the answer, must not be allowed to further fuel the conflict.
“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,” Mr. Ban noted. “Violence only undermines the legitimate Palestinian aspirations for statehood and the longing of Israelis for security.”
Underlining that “the status quo is only making things worse,” the Secretary-General stated that this conflict has gone on for far too long.
“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,” he urged, adding that the UN, and himself as Secretary-General, will continue to support all efforts to create the conditions for a return to meaningful negotiations and a just and lasting peace.