UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) — UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov on Tuesday voiced concern over the deteriorating situation in Gaza and West Bank.
The security situation in Gaza has recently deteriorated, a trend which may soon become irreversible, he warned.
Militant activity, incendiary balloons, rockets and a deteriorating humanitarian situation inside Gaza are rapidly eroding peace efforts, he said.
This latest escalation has once again demonstrated the urgency of implementing long-term solutions for Gaza. There is a moral imperative to end all militant activity in Gaza, restore Palestinian national unity and lift Israeli closures, he said. “But the political solutions that must be provided by leaders are nowhere in sight. Instead, we have a day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year patchwork of crucial humanitarian efforts to prevent war and to try and sustain the lives of 2 million desperate Palestinians in Gaza.”
Compounding the impact of continued closures, intra-Palestinian division and more than a decade of Hamas rule, COVID-19-related restrictions have halted the crossing of workers and traders into Israel and inhibited revenue transfers to Gaza’s exporters. The current absence of cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in response to the threat of annexation has also slowed implementation of critical infrastructure projects and led to job losses, said Mladenov.
In the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, clashes between Palestinians and Israel continued. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a concerning increase in violent crime within Palestinian communities across the West Bank, as well as violent incidents involving Palestinian Security Forces and civilians, with several people shot dead in recent weeks.
Palestinian organizations focused on gender-based violence in the West Bank have also reported a sharp increase in femicides, he said.
“Gaza is teetering on the brink of another major escalation with Israel, the occupied West Bank is fracturing under a multitude of economic and political pressures, settlement expansion and demolitions continue, and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on Palestinian and Israeli societies.” Enditem