U.N. official: World should rehabilitate Gaza only if Hamas halts violence

Measures should be used “to get from those responsible for the situation in Gaza [Hamas] a commitment to keep the situation quiet."

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June 11, 2018 16:34
2 minute read.
Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal

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)

 
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The international community should trade measures to rehabilitate Gaza for a Hamas pledge to halt its violence against Israel, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said on Monday.

“We [the UN] need to work very closely with the Israelis, Palestinians and the Egyptians to put in place a set of measures to help people in Gaza survive and live a little bit better,” Mladenov told the AJC Global Forum, which met in Jerusalem.

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He suggested that these measures be used “to get from those responsible for the situation in Gaza [Hamas] a commitment to keep the situation quiet and to keep security and reduce the amount of rockets and attacks against Israel.”

“If we can do that, we might just turn the corner and avoid another escalation, which otherwise looks pretty much inevitable because the situation there is desperate,” Mladenov said.

What is needed now is to get cash back in to the economy and provide people with jobs, Mladenov said. Improvements must be made with regard to movement and access, he said.

Water and electricity must be available. Egypt must continue to keep open their sole passageway into Gaza, the Rafah crossing, Mladenov said.

“People need an alternative to Hamas and radicalization and the ineptitude of those who should be delivering services to them but currently are not,” Mladenov said. The UN envoy has been one of the key people formulating a plan for Gaza along with Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the former head of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories.

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Mladenov spoke just one day after Israel’s security cabinet met amid high expectations that it would approve a Gaza humanitarian plan or at the very least some step to thwart the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

But the cabinet failed to take any operational steps to help Gaza, where some two million Palestinians are living with less than four hours a day of electricity.

Violence on the Israel-Gaza border over the last 10 weeks has spurred fears of another Hamas-Israel war just as US President Donald Trump is set to unveil a peace plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Dennis Ross, a former Middle East envoy in the 1990s, told the AJC audience: “You can’t implement a peace plan now because of Gaza.”

Mladenov said that when it comes to making a change in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “right now, this day, where we need to start is Gaza. The situation in Gaza is about to explode. If there is one priority that we all share it is to avoid another war in Gaza and that means acting now today, before it explodes rather then trying to fix it after.”

He described how hospitals in the Strip were barely functioning and that raw sewage has flown into the Mediterranean for more than a year.

Separately, he said, Fatah would have to regain control of the Strip from Hamas.

“The Palestinian factions themselves have failed to live up to their own expectations and to fix this division and return the legitimate government back in control of Gaza,” Mladenov said.

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