Sec-Gen Visits Arafat’s Grave,
Meets Parents of Terrorists
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Israel,
paying tribute to dead PLO chief Yassir Arafat but refusing
to meet with
Hamas officials. Ban
arrived and met with Fatah chief and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas
praised Abbas for his faction’s participation in the
unity government but refrained from making any commitments. “We
will have to wait and see how the new government accepts the
international conditions,” he said. "I expect that
with this formation of the national unity government, the leaders
of this government will abide by the principles laid out by
the Quartet,” he said, referring to the requirements
set out by Russia, America, the EU and the UN with regard to
renouncing terrorism and recognizing the Jewish state.
Minister Mustafa Barghouti told an Arabic radio station that
Ban’s meeting with Abbas was an official recognition
of the Hamas-led PA government. "This government is a
single team," Barghouti said. "Whoever meets with
one member is meeting with the entire government."
Ban visited Bethlehem and the Gush Etzion region south of Jerusalem.
He said there that the wall being built by Israel does not “serve
the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority” and
called for its removal.
met with the parents of PA Arabs serving time in Israeli prisons
for involvement in terrorist activity.
also visited the grave of Yassir Arafat in Ramallah.
He laid a wreath of white flowers on the site before closing
his eyes in meditation. Ban will meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
and be taken on a tour of the Yad VaShem Holocaust Museum’s
Holocaust Art section by government officials.
be Ban’s second visit to the museum, as he was taken during
a state visit while serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs
and Trade of South Korea.
Related to the UN Secretary General’s Visit:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Official Visit to Israel
Secretary-General to Meet Israeli and Palestinian Leaders
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
on Official Visit to Israel
(IFM) U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has arrived in Israel for talks with
Israeli and Palestinian leaders. He will meet with Palestinian Authority leaders
and with Israeli leaders.
he will meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Acting President
Dalia Itzik, Vice Premier and Minister for the Development
of the Negev and Galilee Shimon Peres, Vice Prime Minister
and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, and Chairman of
the Opposition Benjamin Netanyahu. During his visit, he will
visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial where he will participate
in a wreath-laying ceremony in the Yizkor Memorial Hall and
participate in a tree planting ceremony in the Forest of the
Nations. The Deputy Defense Minister will escort him on a helicopter
tour of the area.
Ki-moon was appointed to his position in January 2007. His
visit to Israel is the first stage of a Middle East tour, during
which he will also participate in the Arab League Summit in
Saudi Arabia. This is his first official visit to Israel in
his current position. He previously visited Israel as Foreign
Minister of South Korea in June 2005, the first South Korean
Foreign Minister to visit Israel.
great importance to the visit of the UN Secretary General.
The visit will present the opportunity of introducing the challenges
facing Israel and Israel’s expectations from the UN, which
include the question of the Iranian nuclear program, implementation
of UN resolution 1701 and the release of the abducted soldiers,
and the smuggling of armaments from Syria and Hizbullah activities
in southern Lebanon. Additional issues to be raised include
the problems in the Gaza Strip, including the smuggling of
armaments and the entry of terrorists into the Strip, and the
necessity of the international community to maintain its insistence
on the Palestinian Authority’s acceptance of the Quartet principles.
Secretary-General to Meet
Israeli and Palestinian Leaders
By Robert Berger
(VOA) — The Secretary-General of the United Nations has arrived
in Israel for separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
The Middle East peace process and the fate of three kidnapped
Israeli soldiers are topping the agenda.
General Ban Ki-moon hopes to give a boost to the stalled peace
process during a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
He spoke upon arrival at the airport in Tel Aviv. "The
United Nations has had crucial political and operational roles
in the Middle East for more than 60 years. We were there at
Israel’s creation and I would dearly wish to be there again
when a comprehensive solution to the conflict is achieved," he
Mr. Ban will
hold separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But the Secretary-General
disappointed both sides from the outset.
not to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh
drew angry reaction from the ruling Islamic militant group
Hamas, which described it as "discrimination." Hamas
agreed to share power with Mr. Abbas and other moderates in
a national unity government that assumed power a week ago.
The group said the new government represents the entire Palestinian
people and the UN is supposed to be a non-political organization
that represents all countries.
the other hand, was hoping that Ban would boycott the Palestinian
government. Israel refuses to deal with the new regime because
Hamas rejects key international demands for lifting crippling
sanctions–namely, renunciation of violence and recognition
of the Jewish state.
not see the U.N. as a key mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, a role that has traditionally been played by the
United States. But Israeli officials believe the Secretary-General
can play an important role in achieving the release of three
kidnapped soldiers-one held by Hamas in Gaza and two others
held by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Amir Peretz made that clear when he greeted MR. Ban at the
airport. Peretz said Israel is confident that Mr. Ban will
do everything he can to implement U.N. Resolution 1701 which
calls for the return of the captive soldiers to their homes