UN: Is­rael set­tle­ments big hur­dle to two-state so­lu­tion

The Miracle - - National & Int - Source: Al-Jazeera

An­to­nio Guter­res, UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral, has lashed out at Is­rael’s il­le­gal set­tle­ment ac­tiv­ity, call­ing it a “ma­jor ob­sta­cle” to achiev­ing a two-state so­lu­tion and peace with the Pales­tini­ans. “There is no plan B to the two-state so­lu­tion,” he said on Tues­day af­ter meet­ing Pales­tinian Prime Min­is­ter Rami Ham­dal­lah in the West Bank city of Ra­mal­lah. “A two-state so­lu­tion, end to oc­cu­pa­tion, cre­at­ing con­di­tions to end the suf­fer­ing of the Pales­tinian peo­ple are the only way to guar­an­tee that peace is es­tab­lished,” Guter­res added. His re­marks came a day af­ter Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu vowed to never up­root any West Bank set­tle­ment - just days af­ter a White House en­voy was in the re­gion try­ing to restart peace talks with the Pales­tini­ans. “We have re­turned here for good,” Ne­tanyahu said. “There will be no more up­root­ing of set­tle­ments in the Land of Is­rael. Set­tle­ments will not be up­rooted.” In re­sponse to Ne­tanyahu’s com­ments, Guter­res told re­porters on Tues­day that both Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans should re­frain from tak­ing any ac­tion that could un­der­mine the prospects for a peace­ful agree­ment. “We be­lieve that set­tle­ment ac­tiv­ity is il­le­gal in the in­ter­na­tional law and it’s an ob­sta­cle for peace, we are ob­vi­ously in a dis­agree­ment of what was said,” Guter­res told Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett at the press con­fer­ence. Fawcett, re­port­ing from Ra­mal­lah, said that the Pales­tinian Prime Min­is­ter Rami Ham­dal­lah ex­pressed frus­tra­tion that the US peace team was tak­ing too long to an­swer ques­tions on where it stands re­gard­ing Is­raeli set­tle­ments and the two-state so­lu­tion. “He said there was no clear com­mit­ment from the US to end the set­tle­ment ac­tiv­ity, and as a re­sult of it the ac­tiv­ity con­tin­ued and the Pales­tini­ans con­tin­ued to lose land,” our cor­re­spon­dent added. Ham­dal­lah also called on the UN to “pro­tect the Pales­tinian peo­ple and Mus­lim holy sites” from re­peated Is­raeli vi­o­la­tions. Ear­lier on Tues­day, two right-wing mem­bers of the Is­raeli par­lia­ment en­tered the al-Aqsa Mosque com­pound in oc­cu­pied East Jerusalem af­ter Ne­tanyahu lifted a two-year ban pro­hibit­ing leg­is­la­tors from vis­it­ing the site. “I dis­cussed with the UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral the latest de­vel­op­ments re­gard­ing the po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and hu­man­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza strip,” Ham­dal­lah said. “The fail­ure to oblige Is­rael to im­ple­ment [UN] res­o­lu­tions weak­ens the po­si­tion of the Pales­tinian peo­ple and the UN’s cred­i­bil­ity and fu­els con­flict in the re­gion,” he added. The prime min­is­ter went on to as­sert that the Pales­tinian lead­er­ship “supports the es­tab­lish­ment of a Pales­tinian state - with East Jerusalem as its cap­i­tal - through pop­u­lar re­sis­tance and in­ter­na­tional ac­tion”. On Wed­nes­day, Guter­res, who met Ne­tanyahu on Mon­day, is ex­pected to visit the Is­raeli-block­aded, Ha­mas-run Gaza Strip. Se­nior Ha­mas of­fi­cial Ahmed Ba­har on Tues­day said Guter­res’ visit was “un­wel­come” due to the fact that the UN of­fi­cial has “a dou­ble stan­dard, where he stands with the of­fender against the vic­tims”. Ba­har also crit­i­cised Guter­res for leav­ing vis­it­ing rights for Pales­tinian pris­on­ers in Is­raeli jails off his agenda.

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