Friday, 23 February, 2018

On Israel Visit, UN's Guterres Pledges to Fight Rising Anti-Semitism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN secretary general Antonio Guterres at a press conference at the former’s office in Jerusalem On Israel Visit, UN's Guterres Pledges to Fight Rising Anti-Semitism
Ellis Copeland | 29 August, 2017, 05:54

Prior to meeting with Netanyahu, the secretary-general also met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem.

Guterres said earlier Monday that calling for Israel's destruction is a "form of modern anti-Semitism" and said he would treat Israel with "impartiality" amid vocal complaints by Israeli officials that the world body is biased against the Jewish state.

The visit comes at a time of Israel-UN tensions.

The meeting brought together a number of United Nations and Kuwaiti officials, KUNA reported.

After his visit to Yad Vashem, Guterres - a former Portuguese prime minister - planted an olive tree in the KKL-JNF Grove of Nations in the Jerusalem forest.

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has accused Iran of building sites to produce missiles in Syria and Lebanon during a meeting with the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres - part of an increasingly bellicose rhetoric from Israel and the USA against Tehran.

"The UN was mandated to prevent Hezbollah weapons shipments", the Israeli premier noted, "but effectively that is not reported in my knowledge, even one of the tens of thousands of weapons smugglings [sic] into Lebanon for Hezbollah, contrary to Resolution 1701".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel warned U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Iran is using Syria and Lebanon "as warfronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel".

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Rivlin thanked him for his "brave leadership regarding the discrimination against Israel".

Guterres pledged to act impartially as an honest broker. "In other situations, Israel needs to understand that people may disagree with the policies of this government and this is not a form of anti-Semitism", he says.

As for attempts to bring back Israel and Palestine to the negotiations table, Guterres asked Netanyahu to work towards improving the Palestinian economy so that the Palestinians could realize the benefits of peace.

Guterres laid a wreath in Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust museum and signed the guestbook.

"This targeting of Israel, this singling out of the world's only Jewish state - and even actions and statements that threaten to destroy Israel are unacceptable and should come at a price", he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is visiting Turkey and is not expected to meet Guterres during the trip.

"Israel Shamir, a Russian-Israeli Middle East expert, however, said that the powers like Israel and Saudi might directly intervene in the Syrian conflict". On Wednesday, he plans to visit the Gaza Strip.

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