On the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1967 Mideast War, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday remembered those who were killed and whose lives were shattered by the conflict, particularly Palestinians still living under occupation.
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The anniversary serves as a reminder that “statehood for Palestinians, security for Israelis, and peace in the region cannot be achieved by force,” said a statement from Ban’s spokeswoman Michele Montas.
During the 1967 war, Israel
defeated three Arab armies: It captured the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel in 1979 and as part of the deal the Sinai was returned. Israeli troops and settlers unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, but the Israeli military still keeps a tight grip on Palestinian movement there - and the Golan, West Bank, and east Jerusalem remain under Israeli control.
”An end to the occupation and a political solution to the conflict is the only way forward for Israelis, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and the wider region,” the statement said.
“This will only be achieved through negotiations to bring about an end to the occupation, on the basis of the principle of land for peace, as envisaged in Security Council resolutions.”
”The United Nations remains committed to bringing assistance to those who suffer, and to working tirelessly for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region in accordance with international law and the resolutions of the Security Council,” Ban’s spokeswoman said.
The United Nations is part of the so-called quartet trying to revive the Middle East peace process which also includes Russia, the United States and the European Union.