Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moonAFP photo

The head of the United Nations admitted this past week that the organization he heads has had a bias against Israel.

“Unfortunately, because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias and sometimes even discrimination,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon admitted during his visit to Jerusalem, according to the European Jewish Press (EJP).

Addressing students participating in the Rishon Lezion College of Management’s Model UN program at the UN headquarters in Jerusalem, Ban said Israel should be treated equal to all the other 192 UN member states.

The comments came in response to complaints by the students that Israel receives more criticism than any other member country in the world body.

Ban told the students he had come to the region for the sixth time to express his support for the renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

"I have never been this optimistic," he said, according to EJP, adding that the international community had never had such expectations and hope that the peace process would reach a solution.

“This time, I expect real peace,” the UN chief said, urging both sides ‘’to be patient’’ and adding that negotiations are still the best way to reach a two-state solution.

“The Israeli and Palestinian people are neighbors and have no choice but to live in harmony and peace, side by side,” Ban was quoted by EJP as having said.

On Friday, Ban met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who told him that the Israeli-Arab conflict has nothing to do with the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and everything to do with Arab refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

“As far as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, we have to get to the root cause of the problem and the root cause was and remains the persistent refusal to recognize the Jewish State in any boundary,” said Netanyahu.

“It doesn’t have to do with the settlements – that’s an issue that has to be resolved, but this is not the reason that we have a continual conflict. The conflict preceded the establishment of a single settlement by half a century and when we rooted out all the settlements in Gaza, the attacks continued because of this basic opposition to the Jewish State. I think it’s important to understand that if we build a few hundred apartments in Gilo or Ramot, or the other Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, or in urban blocks that everybody knows, including the Palestinian negotiating team, according to the Al Jazeera leaks, will be part of the final peace map in Israel, I think these are not the real issues that we need to discuss.”

Netanyahu called on Ban to look into the abuse of UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency) camps in Gaza which was running "peace camps" that were actually being used to "instill the culture of hatred and the ideas of destroying Israel amidst Palestinian children.”

Ban also called on Israelis and PA Arabs to overcome "deep skepticism" that he said risked thwarting efforts to reach a peace agreement.   

"We must overcome the deep skepticism that comes from 20 years of stalemate," Ban said at a meeting in Jerusalem with Israeli President Shimon Peres.