Israeli government’s decision to build 153 more houses for the settlers in the West Bank has sparked a diplomatic incident between Tel Aviv and New York. These activities – Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon has reiterated – are “an affront both to the Palestinian people and the international community.” Because they risk making “the two-state option vanish forever.” These words have triggered the wrath of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in their turn: “The comments of the Secretary-General – he said – encourage terrorism.” Soon after comes the answer from Ban’s spokesperson: the Secretary-General “has clearly condemned violence. He has not encouraged it in any way, shape, or form.”
A distance duel that takes place while violence in the West Bank follows its course. Yesterday, in a cemetery of Jerusalem was buried a 23-year-old Israeli woman, Shlomit Kriegman, who had been seriously wounded in the settlement of Beit Horon, to the north of Jerusalem. She died in a hospital the day after. A civil guard killed the two Palestinian who had assailed her on the spot. The decision to build new housing in the West Bank has had little coverage in the Israeli media. But it has drawn international attention because it was taken just a few days after the attempt of a group of settlers (supported by Likud, the main government party) to settle in Hebron (West Bank), namely in two buildings that have been allegedly purchased, but still lack the necessary government permits; the decision was taken also after the defense minister had defined a wide area to the south of the West Bank city of Jericho as state lands.
Ban Ki-moon’s strong reaction has been triggered also by the above mentioned situation. He said he was “deeply concerned” about the new Israeli initiative and expressed anxiety about other incidents, including rocket attacks from Gaza towards Israel, and the exaggerated propaganda spread by some media that accompanies and – according to Israel – feeds the second intifada on that territory. In any case – the head of the UN said – “reacting to occupation is human nature.” Prime Minister Netanyahu answers immediately: “Terrorism cannot be justified. Palestinian murderers – he said and was quoted by the media – do not want to build a nation; they want to destroy a nation and say it openly. They do not kill for peace nor for the sake of human rights. The UN lost its neutrality long ago.” In the evening the Glass Palace replies: “the statement of the UN Secretary-General speaks for itself,” the spokesman Stephane Dujarric told ANSA.