U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday lambasted Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “ethnic cleansing” video as an “unacceptable and outrageous” portrayal of people who oppose the Israeli presence in Yehudah and Shomron.
Ban told the United Nations Security Council, “Let me be absolutely clear: Settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation, stifling and oppressive, must end.”
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon rejected Ban’s “distorted view of the situation,” saying “the obstacle to peace starts and ends with Palestinian incitement to terrorism” and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to meet with Netanyahu.
“Instead of directly condemning Hamas for building tunnels and a terrorist infrastructure, instead of investing resources in stopping Palestinian incitement and terror, the secretary-general has chosen to regularly condemn Israel,” he said.
In a video message posted last Friday, Netanyahu said that the Palestinian policy of demanding a state devoid of a Jewish population amounted to “ethnic cleansing.”
Ban’s comments follow those of State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau, who found Netanyahu’s rhetoric equally unpalatable:
“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the [region]. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful,” she said.