UN envoy says Gaza ‘on the brink’

UN envoy says Gaza 'on the brink'
Access Bank Plc

Rocket fire this week across the border between Gaza and Israel shows how close the region is “to the brink of war”, Nikolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, warned.

Mladenov urged the international community to do more to help Israelis and Palestinians return to the negotiating table.

He noted that the recent hostilities marked the most serious escalation since the 2014 conflict between Hamas and Israel.

He informed the Security Council that between May 28 and 30, 216 different projectiles, rockets and mortar shells, were fired from Gaza towards Israel.

“In response, Israeli jets carried out strikes on 65 Hamas targets in Gaza and destroyed a two-kilometre tunnel near the Kerem Shalom crossing,’’ he said, noting that no casualties or serious injuries were reported as a result of either strike.

“No one in Gaza can afford another war. No one has the right to play with the lives of two million people who have lived through hell in the last decade.

“No one should live in fear of an indiscriminate rocket attack.

“Everyone has a responsibility to do their part to de-escalate and step back from the brink in the interests of their own people and the future of their own children,’’ he said.

Mladenov also told the Palestinians in Gaza that their plight and suffering had been heard and that work would be done to ensure that they have a future beyond mere survival.

“A future of freedom and development, a future focused on peace and prosperity where you are the masters of your own fate.

“A future for all Palestinians, under a single, democratic and legitimate government, living in a State of Palestine side-by-side in peace and security with the State of Israel,’’ he said.

He added that for it to happen, “we need to make sure that calm persists, that the militant build-up ends and that we deny those who want to disrupt peace any opportunity to do so”.

The UN Special Coordinator called on the international community to intensify calls on Israel and Palestine to undertake concrete steps to advance the goal of a just and sustainable peace.

“Such actions must encompass the overarching political objectives that include the unification of Gaza and the West Bank under a single, democratic and legitimate Palestinian Authority.

“An end to the occupation and a resolution of the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of a two-state solution as well as in line with previous agreements and relevant UN resolutions,’’ he said.