UN envoy: 'We are always no more than two, three days away from war in Gaza'
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Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, spoke to FRANCE 24 in Jerusalem about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the stalled peace process. Mladenov also discussed the tense situation in Gaza and said both the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships were "increasingly talking more to their own constituencies rather than to each other".
"We are always no more than two to three days away from another war in Gaza", the UN's Nickolay Mladenov told FRANCE 24. "This is the situation which we’ve lived in for the past year and a half to two years now.... The first reason is the fact that the situation in Gaza over the last decade has deteriorated dramatically. People live in terrible conditions, unemployment is skyrocketing. A year and a half ago, people lived with three hours of electricity per day. So there are very strong social tensions that exist in Gaza."
Mladenov continued: "Secondly, we have the constant risk of escalation with the protests on the fence of Gaza between the Israeli forces on one side and the protesters on the other side. The first day that the protests started in March of last year, there were over 60 people killed in one day. This has added a lot to the tensions on the ground. Since then, we’ve seen kites, incendiary balloons, IEDs come across to Israel, sniper fire etc., which has caused the communities on the Israeli side of the border to live in terrible tension and the fear of rocket attacks."
Finally, the UN diplomat regretted "the absence of a political reconciliation process" between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank. "People don't see much prospect for any political resolution to their problems." Mladenov also warned that if there another war breaks out in Gaza, "it is not just going to be more terrible for the people on the ground, but it is going to have regional complications that nobody in the Middle East can now afford to have."
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