(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A top UN official issued a rare condemnation against Palestinian glorification of terror attacks against Israelis during a UN Security Council briefing in New York on Thursday.
UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov included last week’s terror attack at the Gush Etzion junction that claimed the life of Israeli-American Ari Fuld in his monthly report to the council.
“It is reprehensible that Hamas and other Palestinian factions chose to glorify this attack,” Mladenov said.
He condemned Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israelis.
“Hamas leaders continued to incite violence, with one senior official speaking of ‘cleansing Palestine of the filth of Jews,’ and threatening to decapitate Israeli leaders,” Mladenov reported. “Fatah’s official social media pages continued to glorify perpetrators of previous attacks against Israelis and failed to condemn terror attacks against civilians. Some religious leaders and officials made inflammatory statements, accusing Israel of plotting to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque and denying Jewish historic[al] and religious connection to Jerusalem,” Mladenov said.
He also criticized Israeli statements against Palestinians. “Some Israeli officials called for the targeting of Palestinians launching incendiary kites and balloons into Israel from Gaza, and the extra-judicial killings of Hamas officials.”
“One member of the Knesset called for Israel to reconquer Gaza and insisted that Palestinians in Gaza either acquiesce to Israel’s sovereignty or emigrate. Others continued to provoke by rejecting the Palestinian right to statehood, [and] supporting settlement growth and annexation of parts of the West Bank,” Mladenov said.
He devoted a section of his report to the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Gaza. In an impromptu moment at the end of his speech, he said, “I want to underline today that the urgency of the situation we face on the ground is really desperate. Gaza can explode any minute. We have a humanitarian responsibility to react, but we must also understand that it cannot be solved only on the basis of humanitarian action. It must be solved with a political perspective to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and we have a responsibility to recreate it and to support the parties in this prospect,” Mladenov said.
He spoke just weeks after the US announced that it was cutting aid to the Palestinians, including in Gaza, where clean drinking water is scarce and electricity is only available for four hours a day.
The struggle of the 2 million Palestinians in the Strip under Israeli restrictions has been made worse by Palestinian Authority economic sanctions aimed at forcing Hamas to relinquish its control of the area.
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“As we meet today, the power crisis in Gaza is coming to a head,” Mladenov said.
“The United Nations has run out of funding for emergency fuel. This puts critical health, water and sanitation facilities at immediate risk of shutting down while essential medicines are at critically low levels, with almost half of essential medicines at less than one-month’s supply and 40% completely depleted. On 5 September, the United Nations delivered the final stocks of available emergency fuel. Despite calls for donors to urgently contribute, little additional funding has been forthcoming,” he added.
Even before the US cuts, the UN had issued a $540 million appeal for financial assistance to the Palestinians, 75% of which was for Gaza projects, Mladenov said.
“The appeal is less than 29% funded, one of the most poorly funded in the world,” he explained.
The UN diplomat worked intensely over the summer on behalf of a larger cease-fire deal that would halt violence between Hamas and Israel, and allow for the return of Fatah to Gaza. Hamas kicked Fatah out of Gaza in a bloody coup in 2007, and all efforts to return Fatah to Gaza, have failed.
Mladenov gave summary reports on Israeli-Palestinian violence, including along the Gaza border and in the West Bank.
Included in his report was a three month update on Israeli compliance with UN Security Council resolution 2334, which called for a complete halt to all settlement activity and to Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
Mladenov’s report noted the obvious: “No steps have been taken during the reporting period to ‘cease all settlement activities.’”
He listed continued settlement activity such as the advancement of plans for 2,800 housing units, including 1,100 tenders. In addition, he said, a tender was issued for 603 Jewish homes in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.
Mladenov also took issue with Israeli demotion and seizure of illegal Palestinian and Bedouin structures in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, noting that it was almost impossible for Palestinians and Bedouin in that area to obtain building permits.
He continued to warn Israel against the pending demolition of the Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar, located just outside of the Kfar Adumim settlement.
“Demolitions undermine the prospects for a two-state solution and are in violation of international law,” he said.
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