Israeli settlement hinders two-state solution, peace: UN chief



United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the Israeli settlement activities hinder the two-state solution and the peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Guterres made the remarks at a joint news briefing in the West Bank city of Ramallah after his meeting with Prime Minister of Palestinian consensus government Rami Hamdallah.
“Ending the occupation would guarantee two states, and Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace and secure,” he said.
Guterres stressed the necessity for the two sides to avoid incitement and resume a serious and credible political negotiation on the two-state solution.
“Economic and social improvement and freedom of movement should not be an alternative to the two-state solution. Serious negotiation process and additional steps are necessary to ensure that there are benefits to peace,” he said.
Guterres expressed concerns over the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the continued United Nations support to the activities of UNRWA and reconstruction projects.
For his part, Hamdallah warned that the chances of a two-state solution and the achievement of peace would be eroded by Israeli settlements, stressing that the Palestinians would not “remain silent for long.”
Hamdallah called on the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to define its position on the two-state solution, Israeli settlement and the implementation of international resolutions on the Palestinian issue.
The Palestinian leadership “believes that the achievement of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital will be through peaceful resistance and movement at the international level, especially in the United Nations,” he said.
“The Israeli government is responsible for any deterioration in the security situation because of its insistence on settlement, land confiscation, demolitions, incursions into towns and cities, daily arrests and campaigns against prisoners,” Hamdallah noted.
The prime minister also urged the UN to respond to the demand for international protection for the Palestinian people, compel Israel to implement the resolutions of international legitimacy, and take serious and effective steps to protect Muslim and Christian holy sites, especially those in Jerusalem.
Earlier, Guterres met with the head of the Palestinian police chief Maj. Gen. Hazem Attallah, in the presence of Palestinian permanent observer to the UN Riyad Mansour and a number of other Palestinian officials.
It is the first time Guterres has visited the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since he took over from Ban Ki-moon on Jan. 1.—Agencies

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