On his last scheduled visit to Israel as U.N. chief, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take "courageous steps" toward negotiating a two-state solution.
"No solution to the conflict will be possible without the recognition that both Palestinians and Jews have an undeniable historic and religious connection to this land," Ban said in Jerusalem.
He said violence is no answer, and a solution cannot be imposed from the outside. A solution, Ban said, can only come from direct negotiations and mutual respect, and recognition of the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.
Ban also visited a U.N.-run school in Gaza and met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, in the West Bank.
Ban said the Palestinians live a life of "checkpoints, permits, blockades, demolitions and profound economic hardships." But he said none of these justify terror, and that Israelis have their own "frustrations and fears."
Ban's term as U.N. secretary-general ends Dec. 31. An election will be held to choose his successor.