UN chief on three-day visit to Israel, Palestine

UN chief on three-day visit to Israel, Palestine to discuss peace process
2 min read
28 August, 2017
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is visiting Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to discuss ways to revive a stalled peace process.
Guterres arrived on Sunday evening for three days of meetings. [Getty]

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is visiting Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories this week to discuss ways to revive the stalled peace process.

The Trump administration last week dispatched a delegation of top US envoys to the Middle East to discuss peace talks, which have been frozen since talks collapsed in 2014.

White House adviser Jared Kushner met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Thursday as part of a regional tour with Trump aide Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell.

They have also held talks with Egyptian, Saudi, Emirati, Qatari and Jordanian officials.

Guterres arrived on Sunday evening for three days of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in his first visit since taking office.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in an email that the visit will allow Guterres "to engage directly with Israeli and Palestinian people and their leaders" about "finding a long overdue peaceful resolution to the conflict".

Trump's ambiguity around the two-state solution and bias towards Israel has left confidence low among the Palestinian leadership, who say they are still awaiting a "clear vision" on the direction of talks.

The visit by Guterres comes at a time of tensions with Israel, who has long accused the United Nations of bias.

Israel was angered by a UNESCO resolution adopted in May which labelled the country "an occupying power" in Jerusalem. Tel Aviv dismissed the decision as "sad, unnecessary and pathetic".

A month later the cultural agency declared the Old City of Hebron in the occupied West Bank a protected heritage site, further triggering a spat with the UN body.

Israel has also criticised the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon for taking what it views as a soft approach to Hizballah.