Both the United States and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday reiterated their opposition to Israeli “settlement activities” in Judea and Samaria.
But, speaking after UN chief Ban Ki-moon appeared to express sympathy for Palestinian terrorism during a UN Security Council session, American Ambassador Samantha Power said that anger over “settlements” should not lead to violence.
"Steps aimed at advancing the Israeli settlement program … are fundamentally incompatible with the two-state solution and raise legitimate questions about Israel's long-term intentions," Power told the council, according to the Reuters news agency.
She then stressed, however, that anger over Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria should not lead to violence.
"Settlement activity can never itself be an excuse for violence. Never," said Power, in comments quoted by the AFP news agency.
In Brussels, an EU spokesperson for foreign affairs stated that the European Union "strongly opposes" Israel's “settlement policy” and stressed the Palestinians need land for economic development.
"Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible," the spokesperson said.
The comments came after Ban condemned the presence of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and specifically news that Israel plans to declare an area near Jericho as state land.
But he then appeared to excuse Palestinian terror attacks – on the same day as an Israeli woman died of injuries she sustained in a brutal stabbing attack yesterday.
"Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process," he said, blaming "the occupation" for causing "hatred and extremism."
"As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later strongly condemned Ban’s remarks, saying “the UN Secretary-General’s words give encouragement to terror.”
"There is no justification for terror. The Palestinian murderers don't want to build a state – they want to destroy a state (Israel), and they say it out loud," he continued. "They want to murder Jews wherever they are, and they say it out loud. They don't murder for the sake of peace and they don't murder for the sake of human rights,” he added.
"The UN long ago lost its neutrality and its moral authority, and these words of the Secretary-General don't make the situation any better."