UN chief makes surprise visit to Israel

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is in Israel to meet with leaders in wake of the Palestinian terrorism that has shaken the country in recent weeks.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The United Nations’ (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is on his way in a previously unplanned trip to Israel and is slated to arrive on Tuesday.

He is reportedly coming to the country in an attempt to calm the tensions and address the recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks across Israel.

Ban is slated to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas.

In a message he released ahead of his surprise visit, Ban said that that he wished to address both peoples directly in light of the “dangerous escalation in violence across the occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel.”

“I am dismayed, as we all should be, when I see young people, children, picking up weapons and seeking to kill. Violence will only undermine the legitimate Palestinian aspirations for statehood and the longing of Israelis for security,” he said.

“I understand your frustration. I know your hopes for peace have been dashed countless times,” he said when addressing the Palestinians. “You are angry at the continued occupation and expansion of settlements. Many of you are disappointed in your leaders and in us, the international community, because of our inability to end this occupation.”

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However, he explicitly demanded that they cease their acts of terror against Israelis. “I am not asking you to be passive, but you must put down the weapons of despair,” he said.

He called on the Palestinian leadership to “harness the energy of your people in a peaceful way to make their dreams and aspirations a reality.”

As for Israel, Ban said he understood their concerns and “when children are afraid to go to school, when anyone on the street is a potential victim, security is rightly your immediate priority.”

However, Ban is not pleased with the measures Israel is taking to defend itself.  “Walls, checkpoints, harsh responses by the security forces and house demolitions cannot sustain the peace and safety that you need and must have,” he said.

Israel’s envoy to the UN Danny Danon will arrive in Israel to accompany Ban during his visit. “I expect the Secretary General to come out with a clear call against the incitement to violence of the Palestinian Authority,” he stated.

Ban’s visit may not be welcomed by Jerusalem. He has recently made a series of seemingly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian statements, blaming Israel as the cause of the violence and condemning its “excessive use of force” against terrorism, while completely ignoring Palestinian terror attacks against Israel and the incitement to terrorism by the Palestinian leadership.