Daily Israel Report

Ban Concerned Over 'Dangerous' Tensions Between Israel and PA

UN chief says Israeli construction is "cause for very grave concern", says it risks collapse of peace talks.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/1/2013, 4:31 AM

Prime Minister Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Prime Minister Netanyahu and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Flash 90

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Friday of "increasingly dangerous" tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority which could threaten peace talks, AFP reported.

"I am alarmed by the increasingly dangerous situation on the ground. There has been an escalation of violence and incitement,” Ban said in a message in honor of the UN’s new “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”

The day is marked on November 29, on which in 2012 the Palestinian Authority received recognition as a non-member observer state, in a unilateral move in defiance of the Oslo Accords which it signed with Israel.

In his message, Ban highlighted Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem as "a cause for very grave concern.”

"Announcements of thousands of new housing units cannot be reconciled with the goal of a two-state solution and risk the collapse of negotiations," he said, calling for an end to new Jewish construction in these regions.

Ban also condemned rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel and the building of terror tunnels by Hamas terrorists.

He called for the PA to overcome "divisions" between Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction and Hamas, the Gaza rulers, to boost the talks.

"All parties must act in a responsible way and refrain from actions that undermine the prospects for successful negotiations," he said, according to AFP.

"We cannot afford to lose the current momentum of opportunity," Ban said.

Peace talks between Israel and the PA restarted in July, but so far little progress has been made in talks and there is a wide rift between the positions of the two sides.

The PA has repeatedly slammed Israel’s planned construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, despite the fact that it was informed in advance that Israel will continue to build as talks continue. The areas in which Israel plans to build are areas that even the PA has previously accepted will be part of Israel in a future deal.

In comments published on Thursday in honor of the anniversary of the PA’s unilateral UN bid, Abbas pledged to do everything possible to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem.

He said that he would "never give up an ounce of the Palestinians' demands nor sign a peace agreement that failed to meet the aspirations of the people."

The PA has threatened several times that if peace talks fail, it’ll turn to international institutions in its capacity as a non-member observer state in the UN and seek to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court.