Leaders meet with the Shaul, Goldin and Nagisto families; Both address press following meetings; Netanyahu focuses on UN bias against Israel, Ban focuses on blockade of Gaza
Prime Minister Netanyahu met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Ban visiting the region following Israel and Turkey’s reconciliation agreement. Ban stated that he is “very happy with the announcement of the deal to normalize relations,” what he described as “very important for the stability of the region.”
Netanyahu and Ban also met with the families of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two IDF soldiers who were killed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 and with the family of Ilan Mangisto, who has been in the Gaza Strop since 2014. Ban reportedly promised to appoint a representative to assist in their return.
After his meeting with Ban, both leaders addressed the press, Netanyahu highlighting the bias and inequality Israel faces from the United Nations, calling for change. He stated that “the goal of treating Israel fairly remains unfulfilled across a wide spectrum of UN activities and UN forums. Your visit here comes as the UN Human Rights Council is meeting. As it always does, the Council will condemn Israel, a country that does more to promote and protect human rights and liberal values than any other in the blood soaked Middle East. Our progressive democracy has faced more country-specific resolutions, more country-specific condemnations at the UN Human Rights Council than all the other countries combined. And I believe this is a profound betrayal of the United Nations noble mandate… Israel still faces bias at the UN. I know that your desire for all countries to be treated fairly and equally remains true today. I urge you to dedicate your last six months as the Secretary General of the United Nations in trying to right this wrong. And when I say that, it’s not just for Israel’s sake. It’s for the credibility of the UN.”
He stated “If you can unfairly and in a biased way single out a country and apply to it what I call the “Ostracon rule” which is just decide to kick them out, just decide to brand them as criminal or whatever, you can apply that same principle to any other country and this served as the downfall of the Athenian assembly, the first such body on which all of our parliaments and the UN itself is modeled after. And I believe that this Ostracon problem, the singling out of Israel and the unfair treatment that it receives is a palpable threat to the future of the UN and not just for the interests of our country.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Ban for meeting with the Shaul, Goldin and Nagisto families, stating “Hamas is cruelly and illegally holding the remains of our soldiers and holding our citizens. I ask you to use your standing to help return home these soldiers and these citizens. It’s a humanitarian position and elementary humanitarian requirement that Hamas and its criminal activities is of course throwing into the winds.”
He stated that “Hamas is a terrorist organization. Hamas has genocidal aims. It doesn’t merely practice terrorism. It says openly that its goal is to wipe away from the face of the earth a member state of the United Nations.” He called on the United Nations to recognize the crimes and terror perpetrated by Hamas, stating “I hope the UN will highlight Hamas’ crimes and understand that our security measures are aimed only at keeping our citizens safe from this threat and we use judicious force in this regards. I don’t know what any other country, faced with thousands of rockets and missiles aimed at our citizens, at our children, would do differently. Many have done it differently and they have not used the restraint and the responsibility that Israel uses.”
Ban gave an address following Netanyahu, addressing UN-Israel relations, his meeting with the Shaul, Goldin and Nagisto families and calling for the end to Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip, what he referred to as “collective punishment”.
Ban stated “The closure of Gaza suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts… We must not mistake short-term quiet for a long-term solution. We must not allow difficulties to become excuses for inaction…We cannot ignore key underlying causes of violence: growing Palestinian anger, the paralysis of the peace process, and nearly a half century of occupation. None of these causes justify terror. They can only be resolved through bold political action.”
Ban additionally met Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and traveled to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.