Israel, Palestine leaders "have failed to take difficult steps" for peace

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders have failed over the course of a generation to "take the difficult steps needed for peace."

That's the view of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, in remarks to the Security Council on Thursday.

He called on international stakeholders to continue working towards a negotiated end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and said everyone needed to "intensify" their efforts.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr Ban began his remarks by pointing out that the first Oslo Peace Accord had been signed by Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, almost exactly 23 years ago.

"Unfortunately we are further than ever from its goals. The two-state solution is at risk of being replaced by a one-state reality of perpetual violence and occupation. Despite warnings by the international community and the region, leaders on both sides have failed to take the difficult steps needed for peace."

The Secretary-General described the settlement expansion into the West Bank by Israel as "unacceptable and outrageous".

He said that the "stifling and oppressive" Israeli occupation must end and was a clear obstacle to peace.

At the same time he criticized what he called the "glorification of terror" by some Palestinian parties, saying politicians "must put an end to it".

The Gaza Strip he added, was a "ticking time bomb" due to Israeli closures and restrictions, and the "corrosive Palestinian political divide" between Hamas militants and Fatah.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'04"

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