Quartet worried about coronavirus impact on Gaza

There have been only nine confirmed cases in Gaza, but the fear is that the Hamas-controlled coastal region does not have enough resources to contain an outbreak and care for those who will be sick.

BRING OUR citizens back from Gaza (photo credit: REUTERS)
BRING OUR citizens back from Gaza
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Quartet representatives on Thursday discussed their concerns about the outbreak of the coronavirus in Gaza, which is one of the more densely populated areas in the world.
Representatives from the European Union, the United States, the United Nations and Russia held a telephone call during which they received briefing on the UN’s global $2 billion COVID-19 Response Plan launched this week.
There was a “focus on Gaza” during the conversation, “where we are very concerned,” a UN source said.
Among those on the call were UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov and US President Donald Trump's special assistant Avi Berkowitz.
There have been only nine confirmed cases in Gaza, but the fear is that the Hamas-controlled coastal region does not have enough resources to contain an outbreak and care for those who will be stricken. Gaza has a high poverty rate and a health system that was already in crisis. It also lacks adequate electricity and water.
Separately the Quartet representatives spoke about ways to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian talks. 
“They discussed at length what can be done to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” the UN source said, adding that “all remain committed to two states, despite their differences on how to get there.”
Mladenov tweeted, ”Today I spoke with my #US, #Russia, #EU colleagues of the #MiddleEast Quartet. We discussed how to revive meaningful #peace negotiations towards the goal of two states," UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted. "I briefed them on #UN efforts to support excellent #Israeli #Palestinian cooperation against #COVID2019."
Quartet members, save for the US, favor a two-state resolution at the pre-1967 lines. The Trump administration this year put forward a plan which dismisses the pre-1967 lines and instead allows for Israel to retain most of east Jerusalem and 30% of the West Bank, including all of the Jordan Valley. It sets out a blueprint for the creation of a de-militarized Palestinian state within four years. The Palestinians have rejected the plan.
Omri Nahmias and Reuters contributed to this report.


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