United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday that he is dissatisfied with all the players in the Israel-Palestinian Authority drama. The outgoing international leader addressed the meeting on the situation in the Middle East, offering his assessment of how he believes peace can best be achieved in the region going forward.
Ban ranted in a long statement about myriad issues regarding Israel, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority government and Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization. He clearly had long felt deep frustration about all three players.
High on the list of the issues that earned his “concern” was the passage in Israel this week of an NGO Transparency Law, approved by the Knesset on Monday. But Ban also expressed disgust over: – Israel’s continued plans to build housing for its residents in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, – Palestinian Authority leaders’ continued glorification of terrorism to its people and incitement of attacks against Israelis and Jews, and – Gaza’s Hamas rulers’ continued unwillingness to unite in a single government with the Ramallah-based PA leadership, stop stealing donated building supplies from its people for the construction of its terror tunnel infrastructure, and focus on peace, not war.
The NGO Transparency Law so despised by the UN leader forces some 27 mostly leftist Israeli non-governmental organizations who receive more than half of their financial support from foreign governments to report the source and amount of that funding to the government, and to reveal the information on every piece of literature they produce.
The United States Internal Revenue Service maintains similar regulations for tax-exempt non-profit organizations under the IRS 501(c)3 and other codes.
Ban visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority last month. He said that a report issued by the Middle East Quartet (United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations) makes it clear that “the prospects of a two-state solution grow more distant,” even as “negative trends” are rising. He named Israel’s NGO Transparency Law as one of those trends.
“The failure of Israeli and Palestinian leaders to advance peace has created a vacuum. Extremist voices have filled that space,” Ban said.
“Recent incidents reinforce the mounting risks. Those responsible for recent terror attacks must be held accountable. However, closures – such as those in Hebron — as well as punitive demolitions and blanket revocations of permits penalize thousands of innocent Palestinians and amount to collective punishment,” he went on.
Ban said “Israel’s passage of the so-called ‘NGO Transparency Law’… contributes to a climate in which the activities of human rights organisations are increasingly delegitimized.
Just as bad, he complained, “All the while, Israel’s settlement enterprise marches on. Days after the Quartet called on Israel to cease settlement construction and expansion, Israel announced plans to advance building approximately 560 housing units in the West Bank and 240 more in occupied East Jerusalem. This is in flagrant disregard of international law. These actions constitute an undeniable contradiction to Israel’s official support for a negotiated two-state solution.
“I urge Israel to immediately cease and reverse these plans,” he said. “We must ask: How can the systematic expansion of settlements … the taking of land for exclusive Israeli use … and the denial of Palestinian development be a response to violence? Such policies will not bring the two-state solution closer to reality.
“Such policies will not make Israelis safer or more secure,” Ban insisted. “As many former Israeli military and intelligence officers have clearly stated, these policies will do precisely the opposite. Indeed, every brick added to the edifice of occupation is another taken from Israel’s foundation as a majority Jewish and democratic state.”
Hana Levi Julian