Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday accused the UN chief of “encouraging terror” after Ban Ki-moon said he could understand Palestinian frustration at Israel’s occupation and that it was natural to resist.
“The comments of the UN Secretary General encourage terror,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “There is no justification for terror.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Ban told the Security Council of the “profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians – especially young people” in the upsurge of violent attacks against Israelis since the start of October, according to a UN statement.
“Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process,” he said.
“As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”
Violence since 1 October has killed 159 Palestinians and 25 Israelis, as well as an American and an Eritrean, according to an AFP count.
Most of the Palestinians killed since October have been attackers, while others have been shot dead by Israeli forces during protests and clashes.
In his comments, Ban condemned the Palestinian attacks, but said Israeli settlement building cast doubt on Israel’s commitment to the goal of an independent Palestine alongside Israel.
“Continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community,” he said. “They rightly raise fundamental questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.”
Netanyahu responded that the Palestinians themselves were not working for two states.
“The Palestinian murderers do not want to build a state, they want to destroy a state and they say it out loud,” he said.
“They want to murder Jews wherever they are and they say so out loud. They do not murder for peace and they do not murder for human rights.”