UN chief slams ’50 years of Israeli occupation’ of Palestinian lands on 1967 war anniversary

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UNITED NATIONS, June 6 (APP): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that the five-decades-long Israeli occupation has imposed a “heavy humanitarian and development burden on the Palestinian people” and “fueled recurring cycles of violence and retribution.”
The UN chief expressed his concerns regarding the prospects for regional peace in the Middle East in a statement released Monday, marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 6-day Arab-Israelia war.
The perpetuation of the occupation is also sending “an unmistakable message to generations of Palestinians that their dream of statehood is destined to remain just that, a dream; and to Israelis that their desire for peace, security and regional recognition remains unattainable,” the secretary-general said.
Ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and achieving a negotiated two-state outcome, is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace, he stressed.
“It’s the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” he added.
“Generation after generation of Palestinians who have been compelled to grow-up and live in ever more crowded refugee camps, many in abject poverty, and with little or no prospect of a better life for their children.”
“Now is not the time to give up on this goal,” he said.
“Now is the time to return to direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law.”
“Continued settlement construction and expansion; violence and incitement; and the illicit arms build-up and militant activity in Gaza risk creating a one-state reality that is incompatible with realizing the legitimate national and historic aspirations of both peoples,” Guterres added.
The secretary-general also said he believed that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would remove a driver of violent extremism and terrorism in the Middle East and open the doors to cooperation, security, prosperity and human rights for all.
The statement said, “In 1947, on the basis of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, the world recognized the two-state solution and called for the emergence of ‘dependent Arab and Jewish state. On 14 May 1948, the State of Israel was born.
“Almost seven decades later, the world still awaits the birth of an independent Palestinian state.”
The Secretary-General reiterates his offer to work with all relevant stakeholders to support a genuine peace process.