A statement by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War critically fails to recall the cause of that very war and to similarly recognize the reason for Palestinian-Israeli strife today.
While the statement acknowledges that conditions on the ground signal to Israelis "that their desire for peace, security and regional recognition remains unattainable," it falsely attributes this state of affairs to an Israeli "occupation" of Palestinian land. In fact, it is not "occupation" that has "fuelled recurring cycles of violence" and "an unmistakable message to generations of Palestinians that their dream of statehood” will remain elusive, but rather Palestinians' and other regional actors' overt, continuing refusal to accept a Jewish state and to end relentless terrorism against it.
It certainly does not suffice to merely invoke “violence and incitement” without identifying Palestinian leaders as their chief purveyors, while recycling discredited, tired blame of “settlement construction” for a persistent political impasse. After coming into possession of the Gaza Strip and also a border zone in southern Lebanon following endless threats of annihilation and Palestinian cross-border attacks on Israeli civilians, Israel unilaterally and completely withdrew from those territories, only to witness their acquisition by the Islamist terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah, which proceeded to only further intensify a doctrinal commitment to assault against the Jewish state.
Accordingly, simplistic slogans urging an “end to occupation” and the unconditional creation of a Palestinian state are both detached from reality and devoid of concrete contribution to peacemaking. After 69 years of Arab enmity to Israel, the United Nations should be far more circumspect—especially in light of the fact that the swift departure of U.N. peacekeepers, upon Arab insistence, immediately predated the outbreak of the war of 1967.
Anti-Israel violence and genocidal threats—frequently rooted in theological fanaticism, not limited territorial claims—led to the Six-Day War and have consistently prevented the two-state solution since then. Any statement that fails to recognize sweeping Israeli offers of Palestinian statehood—as well as repeated, painful Israeli withdrawals that gave Palestinians not “occupation” but self-governance—presents a false narrative of the genuine obstacles to peaceful coexistence in the Middle East.