PA President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry in Ramallah July 6, 2014. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A two-state solution may soon be impossible to achieve if the peace process is not resumed, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry warned on Monday.
“I am deeply concerned that a one-state reality is on the parties’ doorstep if they fail to address the present deadlock,” Serry told the UN Security Council on Monday.
“I feel 2014 changed the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the future is more uncertain than ever,” Serry said. The international community, he said, must play a role in ending “the deadly diplomatic vacuum” and restarting the peace process. The number of European parliaments that have held non-binding votes to recognize Palestine as a state “serve to highlight growing impatience at the continued lack of real progress,” Serry said.
He spoke in advance of an anticipated resolution by the PLO to set a timeline for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hopes that a UN Security Council resolution could serve as a framework for the renewal of talks, Serry said. “In the meantime, the situation on the ground remains explosive,” Serry said.
He was particularly concerned, he said, that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is “becoming more religious inspired.”
Serry also cautioned that the conflict between Israel and Hamas could be renewed if the situation on the ground did not change. In speaking of Gaza, he refrained from mentioning Hamas.
“I fear we may be heading towards another implosion with dire consequences,” Serry said. Some 25,000 homeowners are expected to have access to construction material by the end of December, Serry said.
“On 7 December, 44 trucks loaded with close to 1,800 tons of cement for reconstruction entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing. It was the largest quantity shipped in one day in years,” Serrry said.
Over 22,000 tons of construction material for the private market has entered Gaza, said Serry.
Still, he said, a lot of work must be done to repair the damage for the conflict this summer between the IDF and Hamas in Gaza, as well as from past conflicts. There are 80,000 families in Gaza living in damaged homes, and 19,000 people are still displaced from the war, he said.
But there are still many improvements that need to be made, he said. The top priority for the next three years has to be “affordable energy, sufficient water and the physical reconstruction of Gaza. But Gaza can not be fully rebuilt unless there is a permanent cease fire in place with Israel," he said.
“The Government of National Consensus in Gaza has still not taken up its rightful governance and security functions and has no control over the crossings; civil service reform is urgently required and thousands of government staff are still not being paid,” Serry.
More importantly, he noted, donors have to fulfill the monetary pledges they have made so that funds are available for the reconstruction. “Lack of progress on these fronts can fatally undermine our capacity to face the challenges ahead and bring back hope to the people of Gaza,” he said.