Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Gaza is on “the verge of collapse,” and urgent action must be taken to prevent another war between Hamas and Israel, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said Wednesday.
People in Gaza “are increasingly desperate,” he said during his monthly report on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the UN Security Council in New York. “We must act urgently to avoid another war.”
Mladenov referenced the “Great March of Return” organized by Hamas
, which began on March 30 with the goal of sending thousands of Palestinians over the border into Israel.
Muslim states call for international protection for Palestinians amid Gaza clashes, May 19, 2018 (Reuters)
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The IDF killed 102 Palestinians and injured thousands along the Gaza border, Hamas said, in what it described as peaceful protests and in what Israel has stated are violent protests.
“In the last month, the IDF killed 76 Palestinians, including 11 children, and over 3,000 have been injured by live fire,” Mladenov said. “This period has by far seen the worst levels of violence since 2014. There have been no Israeli fatalities.”
Mladenov called for the condemnation of both Israel’s and Hamas’s actions in Gaza. “Israel has the responsibility to calibrate its use of force, to not use lethal force except as a last resort under imminent threat of death or serious injury,” he said. “It must protect its citizens, but it must do so proportionally and investigate every incident that has led to a loss of human life.”
“Hamas, which controls Gaza, must not use the protests as cover to attempt to place bombs at the fence and create provocations,” Mladenov said.
“Its operatives must not hide among the demonstrators and risk the lives of civilians.”
The Great March of Return is likely to continue into June, Mladenov said. He called on both sides to exercise restraint.
“Gaza’s infrastructure teeters on the verge of total collapse, particularly its electricity and water networks as well as its health system,” he said.
Key infrastructure projects must be advanced, he said. The cease-fire achieved in 2014 must be observed, and “all factions in Gaza refrain from illicit arms buildup and militant activity on the ground,” Mladenov said.
The Palestinian Authority’s failure to pay employees in Gaza has also added to the “explosive situation in the Strip,” he said, saying the same is true for the “intra-Palestinian political paralysis” and Israel’s restrictions at the crossings. “Turning the Gaza tap on and off is not a sustainable strategy for anyone,” Mladenov said. “We must break this cycle or risk more lethal consequences.”