UN peace envoy warns Islamic Jihad could remove Hamas from power in Gaza

According to UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, the situation in Gaza “could explode at a moment’s notice.” Speaking in Jerusalem yesterday, he warned that “radical groups” with ties to Iran could remove Hamas from power and take over the coastal enclave.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists Photo Credit: Emad Nasser/Flash 90

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov warned Thursday that “radical groups” could push Hamas out and gain control over the Gaza Strip. Speaking in Jerusalem, Mladenov explained that the reconciliation process between Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah group is at an impasse at the moment and the repercussions of the situation are serious.

“People are not getting salaries. There is no electricity and no water. That increases the likelihood of the radicals taking over with an agenda that would be more militant,” he told the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations. “What we see is one organization – watch it carefully over the next few months – Islamic Jihad, really coming out of the woodwork in Gaza.”

“All of the rockets that have been fired toward Israel from December of last year came from Islamic Jihad. This is an organization that has open links to one country beyond the region, very open links,” he said, referring to Iran. Mladenov also warned that the situation in Gaza is highly unstable and that the UN is “very worried that it could explode at a moment’s notice.”

The UN peace envoy to the region spoke earlier this week at the UN Security Council session regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During the session, Mladenov warned that the opportunity for peace in the Middle East is slipping away and if the situation does not change, the conflict “will be engulfed in the whirlwind of religious radicalization.” He also said that the “enemies of peace are growing more confident by the day” and believe that “the political odds are tilting in their favor.”

Abbas also addressed the council during the same session. In his speech, he called on the UN “to convene an international peace conference by mid-2018, which will be based on international resolutions and in which both parties will be present.”

After returning to Ramallah on Friday, Abbas commented on his speech, saying that he has received “positive feedback” on his proposal to have to UN oversee the peace negotiations.



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