UN chief urges Israelis, Palestinians to resume negotiations


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized Israel's occupation of the West Bank and called for the establishment of a Palestinian state in a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War. Around half were being displaced for the second time in less than 20 years.

In the meantime, Israeli gains from the occupation, such as access to cheap labour and a captive Palestinian market are being outweighed by lost opportunity, such as lack of open access to the Arab world and high defence costs, some economists say.

Israel has pursued an increasingly aggressive settlement regime despite broad global condemnation, eating away at Palestinian territory and torpedoing the chances of success for a two-state reality. Israeli control of East Jerusalem is rejected under worldwide law, with United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 condemning the "annexation" as illegal in 1980.

The Palestinian Authority announced to Israel that it refuses to pay for the electricity that Israel provides to Gaza. It is a regime created to oppress the Palestinian people, strip of their land and natural resources, and deny them their basic human rights.

What remain, in brief, are divided lands that are besieged or occupied by one state that maintains two systems. The reality of Israel's occupation extends far beyond the parameters defined in global law, which regarded occupation as a temporary measure borne out of the circumstances of war yet subject to the rules of war and confined by the commitment to respect worldwide law and the rights of protected persons.

The occupation of the Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan "imposed a heavy humanitarian and development burden on the Palestinian people", many of whom are living in refugee camps, in abject poverty and with little or no prospect of a better life, Guterres said.

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"We insist that the Palestinians finally recognise Israel as the national home of the Jewish people", Netanyahu said. However, Israel's intransigence and its total disrespect and contempt for global law, including humanitarian and human rights law have continuously derailed these efforts.

Fifty years into the perversion that the occupation is, we at APN are as determined as we've ever been to not let the extremists win, to bolster and embolden the constituency for peace - both among Israelis and among their brethren in the USA - and to help bring about a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the only solution that would ensure Israel's future as a state that is both Jewish and a democracy. Israel has undermined or rejected all peace initiatives and violated all resolutions aimed at achieving a just and peaceful solution to the conflict on the basis of the rules of global law, the resolutions of worldwide legitimacy and the principle of land for peace, because it is more invested in the colonial occupation than in the prospects of peace.

There is a solid constituency for peace on both sides of the Green Line, both among Israelis and Palestinians.

"That is the foundation for peace and refusal is what prevents achieving it", he added. In this regard, the global community must also honor its obligation to ensure that the principle of accountability is respected without exception.

Another activist described the continuation of the Israeli occupation over the past half a century as "a very bad thing". This destructive cycle of impunity and crimes must end in order for peace to have a chance.