Annan calls on Israel to end attack on Palestinian Authority urges Palestinians

Addressing an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council convened late on Friday in response to the rapidly escalating violence in the Middle East, Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Israel to halt its assault on the Palestinian Authority while calling on the Palestinians to accept the peace proposals put forward by United States Special Envoy Anthony Zinni. “Destroying the Palestinian Authority will not bring Israel closer to peace,” Mr. Annan said, adding that he had consistently voiced criticism over Israel’s use of disproportionate lethal force, especially in civilian populated areas in response to terrorist attacks. “Such use of force will bring neither peace nor security to Israel,” he said. At the same time he said he understood the anger of the Israeli Government and people over those “horrific terrorist” acts, which, he said, were aimed at undermining any prospect for a political settlement. “The intention of such attacks, which I have consistently and unreservedly condemned as morally repugnant, is to subvert the possibility of any peaceful settlement,” Mr. Annan stressed. “Terrorism will not bring the Palestinian people closer to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State.” The Secretary-General called on both Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat to exercise responsible leadership at this time. “I would urge that they make every effort to take advantage of the outcome of the Arab League Summit in Beirut, which outlined a widely welcomed vision for full peace in the region,” he said. “At times like this it is possible to lose sight of the fact there is a path away from violence and war,” the Secretary-General emphasized. “Via the Mitchell recommendations, the parties should move quickly to achieve the two-State vision expressed in Security Council resolution 1397 of 12 March 2002, which is based on land for peace, and Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.” Speaking at the outset of the Council debate, in which representatives of some 30 nations took part, Mr. Annan urged them to consider not only the alarming deterioration of the situation on the ground, but also how the international community “can help ensure that your resolutions, in particular 1397, can become a reality, and how the international community can help the parties get back to the table.” read more