United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov offered his personal views on the current situation in Gaza on Thursday (Oct. 18) in a status report to the United Nations Security Council. Below are excerpts from Mladenov’s lengthy remarks. To see a full transcript of the envoy’s address, click here.
“The situation in Gaza is imploding. This is not a hyperbole. This is not alarmism. It is a reality… We remain on the brink of another potentially devastating conflict, a conflict that no body claims to want, but a conflict that needs much more than just words to be prevented.
The United Nations and its partners have engaged, in response to requests from several UN Security Council members, in an extraordinary effort to stabilize the situation in Gaza and prevent an escalation. We have done so in full coordination with Egypt and in full transparency with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
But let me assure this Council that, barring substantial steps to reverse the current course, this precarious sense of calm is doomed to give way under the mounting pressure.
It is already beginning to fray.
I am afraid that there is no more time for words. Now is the time for action. And we must see very clear actions on all sides that de-escalate the situation. Otherwise, the consequences will be terrible for everyone.
Hamas and other militant groups must immediately and effectively stop all provocations and attacks, including rockets and mortars, IEDs, attempts to breach the fence, incendiary balloons and kites, and tunnel construction, and rein in all violence at the fence.
Israel must restore the delivery of critical supplies to Gaza and improve the movement and access of goods and people; and Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint in the use of live ammunition.
The Palestinian Authority must not disengage from Gaza and must continue its engagement with the international community to help alleviate the suffering of its people in Gaza.
Any effort by any party to block the provision of critical assistance designed to relieve humanitarian suffering must not be tolerated.
These steps are only temporary and aim at avoiding war. We must never forget that, at its heart, Gaza is not a humanitarian problem, it is a political problem.
The humanitarian efforts are taking place in coordination with, and in support of, Egyptian efforts to bring Gaza back under the full control of the legitimate Palestinian Government.
The Government’s return to Gaza and the lifting of the suffocating movement and access restrictions are necessary for addressing the humanitarian and economic needs of the population in a sustainable manner, but also addressing the important political challenges ahead.
In addition to the unification of all Palestinians under one single, legitimate democratic Palestinian national authority, the bigger picture must also be addressed: an end to the occupation; and the realization of the two-state solution based on relevant UN resolutions, with Gaza as an integral part.
And make no mistake, the consequences of failure will be severe, just as the benefits of success will be profound.“