Speaking to the AJC Global Forum in Jerusalem, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov stated that “people need an alternative to Hamas and radicalization.”
UN Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Mladenov suggested to the conference that humanitarian aid for Gaza should be traded in return for a halting of violence towards Israeli civilians by Hamas. Mladenov went on to add that such aid should not be given by default, but rather used as a tool “to get from those responsible for the situation in Gaza a commitment to keep the situation quiet and to keep security and reduce the amount of rockets and attacks against Israel.”
Speaking on behalf of the United Nations, Mladenov added that “We need to work very closely with the Israelis, Palestinians and the Egyptians to put in place a set of measures to help people in Gaza survive and live a little bit better.” Mladenov went on to state that “If we can do that, we might just turn the corner and avoid another escalation, which otherwise looks pretty much inevitable because the situation there is desperate.”
Mladenov also asserted that empowering the Palestinian economy in Gaza should be a top priority in the peace process, and that access to water and electricity should be guaranteed. “People need an alternative to Hamas and radicalization and the ineptitude of those who should be delivering services to them but currently are not,” Mladenov asserted, suggesting that the lack of water, electricity, and sewage services in Gaza are directly the fault of Hamas.
Mladenov comments at the conference come at the heels of deliberations by Israeli cabinet members regarding a possible humanitarian package for Gaza. Failing to reach any agreement on the issue, Palestinians in Gaza are fated to continue living with only a few hours of electricity per day, difficulty accessing clean water, and antiquated plumbing and sewage systems.
With rising tensions between Hamas and Israel, and a wave of terror attacks that included incendiary kites and rocket launches, finding tangible steps in the peace process is becoming more difficult for many involved in diplomatic deliberations between the two peoples. Mladenov emphasized that “right now, this day, where we need to start is Gaza. The situation in Gaza is about to explode. If there is one priority that we all share it is to avoid another war in Gaza and that means acting now today, before it explodes, rather then trying to fix it after.” Mladenov concluded in stating that “The Palestinian factions themselves have failed to live up to their own expectations and to fix this division and return the legitimate government back in control of Gaza.”