U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that Israelis and Palestinians must change their way of thinking if there is to be peace in the region.
“What is needed now is political will and courage,” Ban said, adding that “Leaders must show a sense of historic responsibility and vision. Israelis and Palestinians must break out of a zero-sum mentality, and embrace a peaceful path forward. That is the best hope for both peoples.”
Ban made the comments while speaking at the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in New York today. His comments come ahead of the expected vote by the U.N. General Assembly to approve later today an implicit recognition of Palestinian statehood.
Sixty-five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, proposing the partition of the mandate territory into two States.
“Sixty-five years later, this vision of a two-State solution remains tragically unfulfilled,” Ban said.
According to Ban, the Middle East is changing rapidly and profoundly. “It is more urgent than ever for the international community and the parties to intensify efforts towards peace,” he said.
“The outlines of an end to the conflict are clear. We know them well. They are laid out in United Nations Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles, including land for peace, the Road Map, and existing agreements between the parties. I would also like to stress the importance of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative,” Ban said.
According to Ban, it is crucial to sustain the ceasefire concluded last week that ended more than one week of devastating violence in Gaza and southern Israel.
“There must be no rocket fire from Gaza, which I have condemned repeatedly. There is no justification for indiscriminate attacks against civilian targets,” he said.
“I call on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to breathe new life into the peace process, which is now on life support,” Ban said. “I urge the international community to help them forge a credible political path that will realize the legitimate aspirations of both sides. I pledge to do everything in my power to support this goal.