Palestine and Israel face "one-state reality" without revival of talks

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A Palestinian child seen selling toys at the streets of Yarmouk Refugees Camp. The conflict in Syria forced at least 140,000 Palestine refugees to flee the refugee camp. UNRWA /Rami Al-Sayyed (file photo)

Israeli and Palestinian leaders "risk entrenching a one-state reality" unless "urgent steps" are taken to revive the peace process.

That's the warning from UN chief Ban Ki-moon, in his message to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Tuesday.

Matthew Wells reports.

The UN Secretary-General said that anger and frustration with political efforts to end the occupation of Palestine and forge a two-state solution, allowing two independent states to live side by side in peace, had "strengthened radicals and weakened moderates on both sides."

He said that demolitions of Palestinian houses had doubled compared to last year, adding that Gaza remained a "humanitarian emergency" where tens of thousands were still waiting for their homes to be rebuilt, post-conflict.

He said that there was a "dangerous vacuum" in international engagement due to other wars, but promised the UN and other Middle East Quartet members would continue to be engaged.

His call was echoed by the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, speaking at a special meeting to mark the International Day of Solidarity, at UN Headquarters.

"I urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to de-escalate tensions to refrain from violence and provocations and to avoid incitement and polarizing rhetoric that pushes peace further out of reach. I also call on all relevant parties to reinvigorate their efforts to support the Middle East peace process for the achievement of a two-state solution."

Mr Ban said that despite Israel's illegal and expanding settlement policy, internal divisions pointed to a "paralyzing lack of Palestinian unity".

He said that all international actors must make it clear they remained committed to rebuilding trust between the two sides.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'19"

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