UN chief calls for "bold decisions for peace" in Middle EastListen /
Israeli and Palestinian leaders have been urged to prepare their people for what has been described as "bold decisions and painful compromises for peace."
The call came from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his address to the Security Council on Monday as it discussed the situation in the Middle East.
Secretary-General Ban said 2014 will be a decisive year to help Israelis and Palestinians draw back from what he called "a perilous and unsustainable status quo".
"Israeli and Palestinian leaders will be required to make bold decisions and painful compromises for peace. They must prepare their peoples for these necessary steps. The failure of political progress could fuel a downward spiral on the ground. I am alarmed by recurrent violence and incitement from all sides, as well as continued settlement activity which is illegal under international law." (27")
The UN Secretary-General said building settlements is not consistent with building a long-lasting peace agreement.
He called on Israelis and Palestinians to act responsibly and with restraint.
The Secretary-General also expressed concern about Gaza, stressing that ultimately a sustainable two-state solution requires Palestinians to overcome their divisions.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.