UN official warns against "fatalistic narrative" on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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Jeffrey Feltman. UN Photo/Loey Felipe (file)

Without courageous leadership, a sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remain "a distant and unachievable goal," the head of UN Political Affairs told the Security Council on Wednesday.

In a briefing on the security situation in the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman said the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians cannot be viewed in isolation from turmoil in the region.

He added that the risk of radicalization in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is heightened by the continued lack of what he called a "political horizon."

Dianne Penn reports.

 Mr Feltman told Council members that the Secretary-General is encouraged by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent reaffirmations of his commitment to "the idea of a sustainable two-state solution" which must be translated into actions.

 The UN political chief noted that continued challenges in Gaza, including poor governance, a crippled economy and high unemployment, show the urgent need for strengthening Palestinian unity.

 He said the willingness of all Palestinian factions to resolve their differences is crucial to lifting the blockade on Gaza and advancing efforts to achieve statehood.

 "Let me reiterate our concern that accepting a fatalistic narrative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only accelerate a deterioration of the situation. It will also constitute a grave injustice to those on both sides who want to live peacefully and securely as neighbors – as two peoples whose pasts will be forever linked by their ancestral ties to this region, and whose futures stand only to benefit, including economically."

 Mr Feltman added that the UN Secretary-General is also closely following media reports about a flotilla headed for Gaza in the coming days.

 He said Ban Ki-moon does not believe the flotilla will address the dire situation in Gaza and has reiterated his call for Israel to lift all closures.

 Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’30″


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