John Kerry with UN Sec. General Ban Ki Moon
John Kerry with UN Sec. General Ban Ki MoonReuters

UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged Israel and the Palestinians on Monday to "step back from the brink" and return to peace talks for a "two-state solution."

"The Israeli and Palestinian people face a shared fate on shared land. There is no erasing the other," Ban told a UN committee on "Palestinian rights."

He called "on the parties to step back from the brink and find the path of peace before hope and time run out."  

His comments reflected international alarm over the spate of violent attacks in Jerusalem and the deadlock over peace talks that are fueling fear of another flareup after the 50-day war in Gaza.  

Ban said Israelis and Palestinians appeared to be "losing any sense of connection" and that "when that goes, it is not far over the precipice." 

With no political solution in sight, governments and parliaments in Europe are moving towards recognizing a "Palestinian state" anyway, with France's National Assembly set to debate a non-binding resolution on Friday followed by a vote on December 2.

The Palestinian Authority has yet to formally submit to the UN Security Council a UN draft resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal from all of Judea and Samaria by 2016.

Despite PA statements that the text would come up for a vote in November, PA representative Riyad Mansour told AFP no date had been set for the draft to be discussed at the 14-member council.

Earlier Monday, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency that the PA would postpone submitting its statehood bid in order to buy time in continuing to lobby for the required nine council members to vote for the move, and because the Security Council is preoccupied with Iran nuclear talks. It is unclear whether Maliki and the PA will now wait until the end of a new deadline declared for a deal in the P5+1 nuclear talks in seven months time.

France meanwhile is leading a European initiative to try to agree on a new draft resolution that would set out parameters for a return to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, diplomats said.

It remains unclear whether that effort will yield results.

"We, as the international community, must assume responsibility for what is a collective failure to advance a political solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said Ban. "The mindless cycle of destruction must end. The virtuous circle of peace must begin."

AFP contributed to this report.