Secretary-General's remarks to the media with President Rivlin

Danon said, "The secretary general's visit is an important opportunity to present Israel's contribution to the world as an innovative and groundbreaking country in many spheres".

He also blamed the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, for being too soft on the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement which is seeking the destruction of the Jewish State, according to the Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu said the United Nations has failed to report any of the "tens of thousands of weapon smugglings into Lebanon for Hezbollah".

"The failure to oblige Israel to implement [UN] resolutions... weakens the position of the Palestinian people and the UN's credibility and fuels conflict in the region", he added.

"He is in favour of a two-state solution and one in which the Palestinians would see an improvement in their economic and social well-being, so that they would have a stake in peace going forward".

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".

Guterres was greeted by Israeli diplomats at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport ahead of his scheduled meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

Guterres spoke Tuesday of Israeli settlements as a "major obstacle" to peace, while also noting that they are "illegal under worldwide law".

Hamdallah added that the USA peace team, led by White House advisor Jared Kushner, has not answered the Palestinian team's questions on where the U.S. stands regarding Israeli settlements and the two-state solution.

"After visiting Yad Vashem, the site that commemorates the worst crimes committed in humankind, planting this tree serves as a symbolic act of life and peace", Guterres said.

This is something Israel can not accept. "There is no doubt that the United Nations has a discriminatory attitude towards Israel, but I hope you will have an opportunity to see the strong Israel that works to acquire knowledge for the benefit of our people and humanity as a whole", Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu has frequently accused United Nations bodies of being biased against Israel and he repeated those allegations when meeting Guterres.

The following day, the secretary-general will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other P.A. officials in Ramallah.

"Samaria is a strategic asset for the State of Israel", Netanyahu said. On Wednesday, he plans to visit the Gaza Strip.

Yet, senior Palestinian officials are expressing concerns "that Guterres may not be the vociferous proponent of changing Israel's policy", Al Jazeera's Fawcett said.

  • Joey Payne