Uruguay – UN Secretary General Bashes Israel ‎Says Halt Settlement Construction


    Uruguay – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for intensified efforts to break the impasse in Israel-Palestinian peace talks, saying resolution of the conflict is “long overdue.”

    “We must intensify efforts to break the deadlock,” he said in a speech delivered Wednesday in Uruguay by his assistant addressed to Latin American and Caribbean delegates in Uruguay, the text of which was released by the UN spokesman in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

    “The status quo is untenable, particularly at a time when so many throughout the region are pursuing freedom and dignity through non-violence — a re-awakening also being felt among the Palestinians.”

    Direct talks resumed at the beginning of September with the aim of securing a peace deal within a year but collapsed just weeks later after the expiry of an Israeli ban on new settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

    President Mahmud Abbas has refused to return to the negotiating table while Israel continues to build on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

    Ban said settlement construction was illegal and must stop, and he criticised Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem and the forced transfer of residents there.

    Israel’s occupation, which began in 1967 was “morally and politically unsustainable, and must end,” he said, adding: “Time is of the essence.”

    “A way must be found for Jerusalem to emerge as a capital of two states, Israel and Palestine, with arrangements for holy sites acceptable for all,” he said.

    “And there must be a just and agreed solution to the prolonged plight of the Palestinian refugees.”

    He also condemned the surge in violence in and around the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

    “I am very concerned at continued violent tensions that put civilians in danger. I condemn escalating rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel, which indiscriminately targets civilians, and the killing and wounding of Gaza civilians, including children, by Israeli fire.”

    And he also reiterated his condemnation of last week’s deadly bomb attack in Jerusalem, which killed one and injured nearly 40 people.

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