Rammallah – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated his call for a political solution to the Middle East conflict that would end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and would create an independent Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.
At a joint press conference in Ramallah after meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Guterres expressed his belief that it is essential to restart a serious and credible political process of negotiation aiming at the two-state solution.
He added that it is important to create conditions on the ground to improve the situation of Palestinian populations.
“A two-state solution that will end the occupation and, with the creation of conditions, also the suffering even to the Palestinian people, is in my opinion the only way to guarantee that peace is established and, at the same time, that two states can live together in security and in mutual recognition,” the Sec-Gen explained.
He said that Israel’s settlement activity represented a major obstacle to the implementation of the two-state solution although there are other obstacles.
“We believe that settlement activity is illegal under international law it is an obstacle to the two-state solution,” he declared.
UN Sec-Gen also expressed a concern about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and pledged to support the effort towards creating conditions for a unified Palestinian leadership both in West Bank and Gaza.
Also on Tuesday, Guterres visited the museum of former Palestinian Liberation organization leader Yasser Arafat and laid a wreath on the tomb Arafat in Ramallah.
PM Hamdallah said he had discussed with Guterres the latest developments regarding the political, economic and humanitarian situation in the West Bank, al-Quds and Gaza Strip.
“I discussed with the UN secretary-general the latest developments regarding the political, economic and humanitarian situation in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza strip,” Hamdallah said in the press conference.
Hamdallah expressed frustration that the US peace team was taking too long to answer questions on where it stands regarding Israeli settlements and the two-state solution.
Hamdallah also called on the UN to “protect the Palestinian people and Muslim holy sites” from repeated Israeli violations.
“The failure to oblige Israel to implement [UN] resolutions weakens the position of the Palestinian people and the UN’s credibility and fuels conflict in the region,” he added.
The prime minister went on to assert that the Palestinian leadership supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Hamdallah stated that the Israeli authorities are responsible for any escalation and deterioration in security situation.