(JNS.org) U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday stood by his criticism of what he called Israel’s “stifling occupation” of the Palestinian people, rejecting remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he was “encouraging terrorism.”
On Tuesday, Ban said the current wave of Palestinian terror in Israel—in which the attacks are predominantly, though not exclusively, occurring in the vicinity of Jerusalem and across the 1967 lines—is understandable because it is “human nature to react to occupation.”
Israel’s settlement activities are “an affront to the Palestinian people,” Ban said. In response, Netanyahu issued a statement that “the comments of the U.N. secretary-general encourage terror. There is no justification for terror.”
On Wednesday, Ban would not back down from his earlier comments, saying that Palestinians “watch as Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem, expand and expand…[and] after nearly 50 years of occupation—after decades of waiting for the fulfillment of the Oslo promises—Palestinians are losing hope.”
Ban’s criticism echoes the recent comments of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, who said that too much "vigilantism" goes unchecked by Israeli authorities, and that in the disputed territories, “at times there seems to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law—one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”
Since last fall, 30 Israelis have been killed in terrorist shootings, car-rammings, and stabbings, including the latest victim, 23-year-old Shlomit Krigman. She was killed after being critically wounded on Monday in a Palestinian stabbing attack in Beit Horon, where she was on her way to a visit with her grandparents. Krigman was laid to rest Tuesday at Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuchot cemetery beside the grave of Dafna Meir, an Israeli mother of six who was the Palestinian terror wave’s 29th victim.
Meanwhile, Hamas admitted that it lost contact with eight diggers after a tunnel the Palestinian terror group was digging collapsed due to bad weather. The admission shows that Hamas, which took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Israel’s withdrawal from the coastal enclave in 2005, is working to rebuild the network of terror tunnels running underground into southern Israel, a network that was largely destroyed by the IDF during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.