Ban Ki-moon and Pope Francis Decry Violence in Israel

Israeli Defense Force photo

Israeli Defense Force photo

More attention is being placed on the Palestinian uprising and violence:

October 20, 2015

Another stabbing attack Tuesday morning in the West Bank left an Israeli soldier wounded and the assailant killed, increasing the fear in the country that no place is safe.The military said the Israeli officer was injured lightly in the stabbing. The army said the attack took place in the West Bank village of Beit Awwa near Hebron during a “violent riot” of Palestinian demonstrators.

The clashes are yet another guarantee that Israel will remain on edge, reports CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen. But the real dread is over random murder. An attacker Sunday killed a soldier before being killed himself.

The current unrest erupted in Jerusalem a month ago over tensions surrounding a Jerusalem holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims. It soon spread to Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem and then to the West Bank, Gaza and the rest of Israel.

The spate of daily attacks have caused panic across Israel and raised fears that the region is on the cusp of a new round of heavy violence.

October 20, 2015

World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit has joined Pope Francis and the U.N. Secretary-General expressing deep concern over renewed violence in Jerusalem as Ban Ki-moon made his way to Israel to ty to find ways of defusing tensions.

The U.N.’s Ban was was heading for Israel Oct. 20 for in a diplomatic bid to address ongoing violence that has rocked the country for over a month, a U.N. spokesman said in Geneva.

During his visit Ban was to meet with israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Speaking after Sunday Mass the Pope had appealed once again for peace in the Holy Land.

“I am following with great concern the situation of high tension and violence that afflicts the Holy Land,” he said.

Over the past month, nine Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks, most of them stabbings. In the same period, 41 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, including 20 whom Israel labeled as attackers, and the rest in clashes with Israeli troops.

October 20, 2015

Ban on visit says there can be no de-escalation of violence without “reemergence of hope.”

Netanyahu placed the blame for the violence on Abbas for “joining Hamas and ISIS in claiming that Israel is threatening the Al-Aksa Mosque.” This, he said, is a “total lie.” …

“I think it is time to tell the truth about Palestinian terrorism,” Netanyahu said. “It is not about the settlements, it is not about the peace process, it is the desire to destroy the State of Israel, pure and simple.”

Ban, who said he understood the “pain and anger felt by many Israelis in the current environment,” said that “clearly these attacks against individuals are not taking place in a vacuum.” He said that he has been “deeply troubled” by statements made by Hamas and Islamic Jihad praising the attacks, and also voiced his “deep concern” in a conversation with Abbas over “instances of inflammatory rhetoric.”

Ban urged the Israeli government to do its utmost to calm down the situation, and said he welcomed statements by Netanyahu, other ministers and prominent rabbis about maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount.

Ban said that the security challenges Israel is facing raises many “complicated dilemmas and may require tightening security measures.” But, he added, these measures must be carefully calibrated to protect innocent lives, and where innocent lives are lost Israel should conduct full investigations.

“Israelis and Palestinians stand on the brink of another catastrophic period of violence. We need to keep the situation from escalating into a religious conflict with potential regional implications,” he said. “We must create the conditions for meaningful negotiations that will end the occupation and realize the aspirations of both people. The only way to end this conflict is through negotiations that produce visible, meaningful results. Unilateral actions from either side will only perpetuate a downward spiral.”

Ban Ki-moon seems to be hinting at an international ‘solution’ to the problems there.  The Palestinians are again learning that violence brings international attention and sometimes pressure to assist their goals.

Many Palestinians are depressed, distraught, and feel that they are without hope. Because of improper Islamic teachings, many believe that engaging in this type of murderous behavior, when it results in their personal deaths, will not only free them from problems in this life, but give them an opportunity to fulfill various lusts in the next (e.g. see Suicide bombers kill scores in Turkey–their hope for reward is flawed)–but that is a false hope.

As far as the Vatican goes, Pope Francis wants more access to Jerusalem.  The events happening there may give him more influence and a better ability to meet his objectives.