U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has disavowed a statement attributed to him of a rare admission of bias in the U.N. against Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Ban denied it at a press “encounter” at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Monday when a reporter for Israel Radio asked him about it.
The U.N. chief replied: “I don’t think there is discrimination against Israel at the United Nations.
“The Israeli government maybe raised this issue that there’s some bias against Israel, but Israel is one of the 193 member states. Thus, Israel should have equal rights and opportunities without having any bias, any discrimination. That’s a fundamental principle of the United Nations charter. And thus, Israel should be fully given such rights,” he added.
In what had been reported as a rare admission of anti-Israeli bias, Ban was quoted as saying, during a visit to Yerushalayim: “Unfortunately, because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel has been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias and sometimes even discrimination.”
Addressing students participating in the Rishon Letzion College of Management’s Model U.N. program at the U.N. headquarters in Yerushalayim, Ban said Israel should be treated like all the other 192 U.N. member states.
His comments came in response to complaints from the students that Israel is the focus of more criticism and condemnation than any other member country, including those with horrific human rights records.
Ban told the students he had come to the region for the sixth time to express his support for the renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“I have never been this optimistic,” he said. “This time, I expect real peace,” though the U.N. chief urged both sides “to be patient’’ on their way to reaching a two-state solution.
Ban met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday, who dismissed condemnations of his building policy in Yehudah and Shomron, saying that the Israeli-Arab conflict has nothing to do with it, and everything to do with Arabs’ “persistent refusal to recognize the Jewish State in any boundary.”
Netanyahu asked Ban to look into the abuse of UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency) “peace camps” in Gaza that are being used for anti-Israel propaganda.