UNITED NATIONS, January 15 (Sputnik) — UN Assistant Secretary-General ad interim for Political Affairs called on Israelis and Palestinians Thursday to pursue a two-state solution to their conflict as the level of violence witnessed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2014 surpassed anything seen since the middle of the last decade.
"I urge Palestinians and Israelis to plot a course that ultimately leads to a negotiated resolution of the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace and security," Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen told the Security Council, adding that "the alternative is fraught with hazards that may be irreversible."
In Gaza, Toyberg-Frandzen added that, "one of the critical issues is the still outstanding payment of salaries to Gaza employees. There has, worryingly, been no progress on this issue." Israel is withholding tax revenues collected on behalf of Palestine, after Palestine filed papers to join the International Criminal Court.
Toyberg-Frandzen told the Security Council that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "took note" of the Council's failure in late December to approve the Palestinian and Arab Group resolution setting a time frame to end Israel's occupation; and Palestine's joining of a number of UN system bodies, including the International Criminal Court. According to Toyberg-Frandzen this took the process into "uncharted territory."
Last Sunday United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also stressed the need to urgently return to talks on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a phone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry. The last round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks was initiated by Kerry and ran from July 2013 until April 2014.
In July 2014 the Israeli-Palestinian conflict intensified as Israel launched Operation Protective Edge against Hamas forces in Gaza. According to the United Nations, over 2,000 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed during the operation. On August 26, the sides agreed to an open-ended ceasefire.