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Israel settlements big hurdle to two-state solution

30 August 2017

To a question about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's latest comments on settlements in West Bank, Mr. Guterres said "it is clear that there is a disagreement on that matter".

Netanyahu said Iran is using Syria and Lebanon as war fronts as part of its "declared goal to eradicate Israel".

Netanyahu also told the visiting UN Secretary-General that Iran was constructing missile production sites in Syria and Lebanon. To avoid genuine "bias" in their pursuit of peace, future USA policymakers will have to accept this fact - and resolve to make indefinite occupation less comfortable for Israel than it now is.

"Guterres whom we've known for years and we had hoped would signal a new will on the part of the United Nations leadership to stand up to Israel, we're beginning to see not just a regression, a sense of intimidation and reticence when it comes to Israel", she said.

"A two-state solution, end to occupation, creating conditions to end the suffering of the Palestinian people are the only way to guarantee that peace is established", he added.

"It's been proven that it doesn't help peace".

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His meeting with Netanyahu was part of a three-day visit that ends Wednesday and came with the two-state solution, long the focus of worldwide diplomacy, under threat.

Israel continues to fight against the growing power of Iran-backed Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon.

Israel's President Ruby Rivlin also met with Guterres earlier in the day, and told Guterres that he must work to end the discrimination against Israel in the UN.

Prominent members of Netanyahu's government advocate annexing most of the West Bank, which would make an independent Palestinian state impossible.

On Tuesday, Ahmad Majdalani, a top aide to Abbas, said the Palestinians asked Kushner for the USA position on two key issues - Israeli settlements and support for Palestinian independence - during his last visit to the region in June.

Greenblatt was part of a United States delegation last week, including Trump s son-in-law Jared Kushner, that held talks with Netanyahu and Abbas.

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The trip to the region is Antonio Gutteres' first since being elected to the UN's top position past year.

Netanyahu holds that settlements are not an obstacle to achieving peace, but rather the Palestinians' unwillingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and crack down on incitement.

"I want to express very strongly the total commitment of the United Nations but my personal total commitment to do everything for a two-state solution to materialise", he said.

Following his meeting with Hamdallah, Guterres visited the Yasser Arafat Museum and laid a wreath on the former PA president's tomb.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is in Turkey and not expected to meet Guterres during the trip.

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Israel settlements big hurdle to two-state solution