TEL AVIV – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Friday that he felt “ashamed” and “guilty” about the deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Ynet reported.
“I feel guilty, ashamed of the lack of progress,” he said.
“Basically it’s up to the leadership of Israel and the Palestinians to put an end to the conflict,” he said. “I am not working for a particular country or a particular policy but for the people in the region.”
The next day, Ban spoke at the annual commemoration ceremony in memory of the victims of the Holocaust held at the Park East Synagogue in Manhattan.
“Only by breaking down the walls of intolerance and division can we prevent new conflicts and genocide,” said Ban.
According to UN diplomats, Ban is hoping to resume talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state before he steps down as secretary-general at the end of the year.
“I will always be haunted by all that I saw and heard when I visited Auschwitz in 2013,” Ban told the congregation, which included Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon.
“The testimonies of Holocaust survivors remind us what happens when we allow inhumanity to prevail. They also remind us of the power of the human spirit and the inherent dignity and worth of every person,” Ban added.
Ban also said that he is “deeply disturbed” by continuing massacres in South Sudan, Syria, and by Islamic State and Boko Haram terrorists.
“I see international humanitarian law being flouted on a global scale. But I do not see the international community holding the perpetrators to account,” he said.
Ban underscored UN efforts to educate and preserve the memory of the Holocaust.
His address came in the wake of a media storm surrounding his remarks that so-called Palestinian resistance was understandable and it was “human nature” to react violently to military rule.
Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s charge that the secretary-general’s words “encouraged terrorism” and were further proof that the UN has lost its moral standing, Ban penned a scathing oped in the The New York Times accusing Netanyahu of twisting his words and warning Israel not to “lash out” at “every well-intentioned critic.”