Ban urges Israeli, Palestinian leaders to stand up to extremists on both sides, end surging violence

21 November 2014 | Press Releases

New York, 20 November 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he was shocked by the recent deadly attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem and “at this delicate and dangerous juncture” both leaders must show the courage to do everything necessary to end the surging violence.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/M. Garten (file photo)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/M. Garten (file photo)

A statement issued by the Office of the United Nations Spokesperson in New York this evening said Mr. Ban today spoke separately by telephone today with Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Mahmoud.

According to the readout, the Secretary-General said he was shocked by the deadly attack of 18 November on a synagogue in West Jerusalem and the he was “extremely alarmed by the upsurge of violence in recent weeks.” The attack at the synagogue resulted in the murder of four innocent civilians worshipping there and a police officer, as well as the injury of many more.

“The dangerous downward spiral must urgently be reversed,” the UN chief said in his conversations, emphasizing that at this delicate and dangerous juncture, “courage and responsibility were required from both the President and the Prime Minister to take a stand that may be contrary to extremists in their own domestic constituencies.”

The readout further notes that the Secretary-General said he hoped the recently announced confidence-building measures and firm commitments made by both sides at the meeting in Amman, Jordan, to maintain the status quo regarding the holy sites would be further translated into a de-escalation of tensions.

“Absent this, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may quickly morph into a religious conflict, over which the international community will have limited, if no, leverage,” Mr. Ban warned, according to the readout.