7 September 2015


In Message to International Meeting on Question of Palestine, Secretary-General Says
‘Confidence Must Be Restored by Both Peoples for a Peaceful Settlement’

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Rima Khalaf, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, to the International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, held in Brussels from 7 to 8 September:

I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at the International Meeting on the Question of Palestine.  I thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People as well as the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for organizing this event.

The situation on the ground continues to be worrisome.  One year since last summer’s ruinous Gaza conflict, security and hope in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza remain at a low point.  It remains clear that confidence must be restored by both peoples for a peaceful settlement and at last, the realization of two States for two peoples.  It is also clear that unilateral actions, such as building illegal settlements, run directly counter to this purpose and cannot be reconciled with the Government of Israel’s stated intention to pursue a two-State solution.

I am also deeply concerned by the new levels of settler violence against Palestinian civilians.  The continuing policy of settlement expansion and the climate of impunity relating to settler activity are a root cause of the escalating violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  There are indications that the Israeli Government has stepped up its efforts to address this danger and to bring those responsible to account.  Israel must do all it can to live up to its obligations and commitments, especially the protection of all civilians, including those under its occupation.  I have also condemned the recent rocket launches from Gaza toward Israel, which are unacceptable, and acts of violence against Israelis in the West Bank.  Leaders on all sides must speak out against and prevent such acts in order to not allow extremists to escalate the situation and take control of the political agenda.

I will continue to work with all parties to encourage a return to peace negotiations, which must include a discussion of the issue of Israeli settlements under a final status accord.  I am heartened by the commitment of Arab leaders to uphold the Arab Peace Initiative, and I encourage the Quartet, the League of Arab States, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and all regional and international stakeholders to play a more active, supportive role in fostering an enduring peace.  The United Nations remains committed to a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine resulting in two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful event.

For information media. Not an official record.