With the spotlight on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Special Envoy Nicolay Mlandenov detailed “new dangerous flashpoints” emerging in the region, under rapidly shifting developments in the Middle East as a whole, which have snowballed into a growing threat to international peace and security.
Occupations in Palestinian areas continue, “and no progress has been made in realizing a negotiated Two-State solution,” he reported during his quarterly update to the Council on the Middle East.
“It is a multi-generational tragedy for the peoples of this land.”
A growing number of Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, remains a “substantial obstacle” in the peace process. In the last month, plans have advanced for housing units to expand in the occupied West Bank, even without this latest advancement, the approval of settlement expansion so far this year is already greater than that for all of 2018, Mr. Mlandenov explained.
Palestinian structures have been demolished or seized, as Israeli-issued building permits are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain. The teardown or seizure of 51 structures has displaced 80 Palestinians, including 40 children, he said.
Citing a de-escalation of tensions in recent weeks, the Special Envoy said Gaza has seen a reduction in violence, brokered by the UN and Egypt.
The exposure to violence, particularly for children, must be contained, he said, with one infant killed following tear gas inhalation during West Bank clashes, among two Palestinians killed, in addition to 88 injured in various incidents, including 11 children.
In addition, Mr. Mladenov said he is “particularly concerned” by settler attacks in the occupied West Bank, recalling a recent “alarming incident” this month during the annual olive harvest, in which Palestinian farmers, Israeli and foreign volunteers were hit by stones and metal rods by people in the Yitzhar settlement. Four foreign volunteers were injured in addition to one 80-year-old rabbi.
Mr. Mladenov stressed that while the humanitarian crisis remains a top priority, “I reiterate, once again, that the core of the crisis in Gaza is political.”
Darul Ihsan Media Desk