"Now is not the time to give up" UN chief tells Israelis, Palestinians

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Palestinian women walk near Israel’s barrier near Ramallah in the West Bank. Photo: IRIN/Shabtai Gold

Now is not the time to give up on the goal of ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory and achieving a two-state outcome for durable peace in the region, the UN chief said on Monday.

António Guterres issued a statement through his Spokesperson to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war which resulted in Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territory and the Syrian Golan, also known as the Golan Heights.

The occupation is imposing a "heavy humanitarian and development burden" on the Palestinian people, he warned.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Generation after generation of Palestinians have been compelled to grow up in abject poverty and live in "ever more crowded" refugee camps, with little or no prospect for a better life for their children because of the occupation, said the Secretary-General.

It has also shaped the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis, António Guterres noted, fuelling recurring cycles of violence and retribution.

Its perpetuation is also sending a message to generations of Palestinians that their dream of statehood is "destined to remain just that" and to Israelis that their desire for peace, security and regional recognition remains unattainable.

Stéphane Dujarric, the UN Spokesperson, has more.

"Ending the occupation that began in 1967 and achieving a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty. It is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Now is not the time to give up on this goal. Continued settlement construction and expansion; violence and incitement; and the illicit arms build-up and militant activity in Gaza risk creating a one-state reality that is incompatible with realizing the legitimate national and historic aspirations of both peoples."

In 1947, on the basis of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, the world recognized the two-state solution and called for the emergence of "independent Arab and Jewish states", the UN chief's statement continued.

On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born.

Almost seven decades later, the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state, the Secretary-General concluded.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’54”



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