International
0

UN, Egypt Help Forestall Escalations in Gaza

A Palestinian girl inside her family’s partially destroyed home looks at the destruction outside in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. (File Photo)A Palestinian girl inside her family’s partially destroyed home looks at the destruction outside in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. (File Photo)

Intense diplomatic efforts by the United Nations and Egypt have helped avoid another Israeli-Palestinian war in Gaza that appeared just “minutes away” over the past weekend, a senior UN official said on Tuesday.

“After intense efforts by the United Nations and Egypt, I can report that the situation is calming down, although tensions remain,” Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the Security Council via video link from Bait-ul-Moqaddas.  

He said that “last Saturday we were minutes away from another devastating confrontation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.”

The Gaza enclave has been controlled by a Palestinian group Hamas, since 2007. Israel has blocked the movements of Palestinians from Gaza.    

The UN has said the root causes of the intractable conflict there include a more than 50-year occupation by Israel of the Palestinian territory and its years-long blockade of Gaza.

Briefing the council on recent developments around Gaza, Mladenov said that “over the last two weeks, the situation quickly spiraled out of control, nearly to a point of no-return.”

The past month, he said, has witnessed one of the largest escalations since the most recent 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.

Nineteen Palestinians, including seven children, were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, during protests, clashes and air strikes, and over 1,000 were injured.

Mladenov said he traveled to Gaza on July 15 and earlier on Tuesday, in an urgent effort to deescalate tensions. He appealed to Israel to fully reopen border crossings, stop shelling, particularly in populated areas, and to exercise restraint toward Gaza.

On Sunday, the UN warned that supplies of emergency fuel provided by the world body for critical facilities in Gaza are running out.

Mladenov said on Tuesday, the first 100,000 liters of much-needed fuel were allowed through the Kerem Shalom crossing, to be distributed by the UN to hospitals and emergency services.

Turning to the Syrian Golan Heights, he said recent developments on the Golan have heightened tensions.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints

Financialtribune.com