United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an end to Israel’s half-century occupation of the Palestinian territories, stressing that it is the only path that leads to the resolution of the conflict in the region.
Guterres made the plea in a message read out by his deputy Amina Mohammed to a forum held at the UN headquarters in New York to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.
The Israeli occupation has imposed a heavy humanitarian burden on the Palestinian people as “Generations of Palestinians have grown up in crowded refugee camps, many in abject poverty and with little or no prospect of a better life for their children,” Guterres said.
He also underlined the need for establishing an independent Palestinian state and noted that ending the occupation “is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”
It is time to return to direct negotiations between the two sides and settle issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law, the UN chief added.
Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would remove a driver of violence in the Middle East
and “open the doors to cooperation, security, prosperity and human rights for all,” he concluded.
Additionally, Mohammed addressed the forum and highlighted the necessity of the so-called two-state solution.
“I understand the deep sense of despair of the Palestinian people. For far too long, the international community has failed to find a just and lasting solution to their displacement,” she said. “Some think that the situation can be managed. They are all wrong. It must be resolved.”
Furthermore, Secretary General of the Palestine
Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat also addressed the event and accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of promoting apartheid.
Israeli forces stand outside Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds on June 16, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Netanyahu wants to continue occupation and has no interest in achieving peace, he said.
“He (Netanyahu) says: ‘I will demolish your home, I will build more settlements, I will humiliate you, but you have to wake up in the morning and pray to God and thank him that you are under our occupation,” he pointed out.
The Six-Day War was fought on June 5-10, 1967 between the Israeli regime on the one side and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria on the other.
At the end of that war, Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, the Gaza Strip, and parts of the Golan Heights. Israel later withdrew from Gaza but has kept the coastal enclave under a crippling siege since 2007.
Palestinian officials say they want the resolution of the conflict with Tel Aviv based on the so-called two-state solution along pre-1967 boundaries.
However, the Israeli premier has on several occasions said the regime should maintain its military occupation of the West Bank under any agreement with the Palestinians.
The latest round of talks between the Israelis and Palestinians collapsed in 2014, with Tel Aviv’s refusal to end its land grab policies as a major bone of contention during those discussions.