Mondoweiss

Ban Ki-moon keeps woofing at Israel over occupation — but not a word about sanctions

Ban Ki-moon

Last week, Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, gave a landmark speech saying that it was “human nature” for Palestinians to resist occupation:

as oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then lashed out at Ban for allegedly “stoking terror.”

Well, Ban Ki-moon has now penned a piece for the New York Times op-ed page titled, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel,” restating his case about “nearly a half century” of occupation as a challenge to Israel.

I pointed out a simple truth: History proves that people will always resist occupation.

Some sought to shoot the messenger — twisting my words into a misguided justification for violence.

The piece is drawing global attention with an AP story saying that the Secretary General is “doubling down” on his comments on Israel.

Here is Ban’s argument, restated, on occupation producing violence:

No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution.

The settlements keep expanding.

Palestinians — especially young people — are losing hope over what seems a harsh, humiliating and endless occupation.

And he frames this in the context of the death of the two-state solution.

I am so concerned that we are reaching a point of no return for the two-state solution. And I am disturbed by statements from senior members of Israel’s government that the aim should be abandoned altogether.

The stalemate carries grave risks for both sides: a continuation of the deadly wave of terrorism and killings; the collapse of the Palestinian Authority; greater isolation of and international pressure on Israel; and a corrosion of the moral foundation of Israeli and Palestinian societies, ever more inured to the pain of the other.

The piece alludes to the recent criticisms of Israel by Secretary of State John Kerry and Ambassador Daniel Shapiro:

[W]hen heartfelt concerns about shortsighted or morally damaging policies emanate from so many sources, including Israel’s closest friends, it cannot be sustainable to keep lashing out at every well-intentioned critic.

The end of the piece fizzles. “The status quo is untenable,” Ban says. Just what Kerry and Shapiro have said. None of these exalted officials is threatening any enforcement over Israel’s half-century of defiance of international norms in the occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan. Nope, apparently that’s all the responsibility of the Palestinians with their “human nature” resistance.

You’d think that with so many Palestinians willing to give up their lives in order to demonstrate the inhumanity of the occupation– 160 have been killed since October, most wielding knives– the international community might actually take some symbolic steps to put its money where its mouth is. But you’d be wrong.

Thanks to Tom Suarez.