UN Chief to Hamas: Stop Rockets

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon called on Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel - and on Israel to stop construction in Judea/Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 22:27

Peres and Ban Ki Moon
Peres and Ban Ki Moon
Israel news photo: National Photo Collection

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel. He also said that Israel must stop construction everywhere in Judea and Samaria, as well as any place in the vicinity of Jerusalem that was not under Israeli control before 1967.

He appeared at a press conference with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Saturday night.

Hopes Jerusalem Will be Capital of PA State
Earlier on Saturday, Ban met in Ramallah with PA prime minister Fayyad, saying he hopes eastern Jerusalem will one day be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has stated clearly that Jerusalem is the historic and national capital of the Jewish Nation, and will remain forever undivided and under Jewish sovereignty.

Though the world media underplayed it, he also called on "Palestinian extremists" to stop firing rockets at Israel.

"The world has condemned Israel's expansion plans in East Jerusalem," Ban said in Ramallah. "Let us be clear: all settlement activity is illegal anywhere in occupied territory, and this must stop." He called on Israel to agree to a Palestinian state within two years.

Speaking at the press conference with Peres, Ban said, "We have to concentrate on creating conditions that will guarantee the success of the negotiations, and refrain from actions that mar the trust between the two sides. I am referring to freezing construction in the settlements" – and not, apparently, to the firing of Hamas rockets.

"I come with a clear message from the Quartet [US, EU, UN and Russia]," Ban said, "and that is that negotiations for two states is the only way to peace."

Unlike his remarks in Ramallah, Ban did not mention Jerusalem in his Jerusalem press conference, saying only that Israel must free construction in Judea and Samaria.

Peres: Unbelievable that Shalit Has Not Been Visited
Peres, for his part, said Israel agrees to a two-state solution, though he did not mention that Netanyahu has said it must be demilitarized and not include the Jordan Valley.

Peres also asked the UN to intervene in the matter of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. "It is unacceptable that for three years [Shalit was captured by Hamas terrorists 3 years and nine months ago – ed.] a visit to Shalit could not be arranged. This is simply unbelievable. The UN must take a stand on the matter."

Peres also said that the UN must stand up to Iran and its threats to destroy Israel: "Statements like these are opposed to the UN Charter, and Israel expects the Security Council to unambiguously condemn them."

Earlier in the evening, IDF Intelligence Chief Gen. Amos Yadlin met with Ban to brief him on the Middle East strategic picture. He discussed with him the Iranian arms smuggling via air, land and sea, and the Iranian aid granted to various terrorist groups in the Middle East. He also talked about Hizbullah's violations of the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement in the north.