“In the coming weeks, a new Israeli Government will be formed. I strongly urge the incoming Government to reaffirm Israel's commitment to the two-state solution and to take credible steps to foster an environment conducive to a return to meaningful negotiations, including a freeze of settlement activity,” Ban said in an address to the UN Security Council.
The secretary-general expressed concern over fragile security in Gaza and the lack of progress on intra-Palestinian reconciliation as well as the slow pace of reconstruction.
“Gaza is facing a crushing financial crisis. Public sector employees remain unpaid. The impact of the conflict and of extreme poverty on Palestinians in Gaza has been severe,” Ban added. He urged the international community to support a second humanitarian payment to Palestinian civil servants in Gaza.
Ban welcomed last week's agreement, under which Israel has now transferred more than $470 million in revenue collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
Before the March Israeli elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. Once reelected, the prime minister was quick to change his message saying that it is possible, but only under strict conditions.
Palestinians seek to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, requesting Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories it took after the 1967 war. Israel has been building settlements on the occupied areas, consistently disregarding objection from the United Nations.