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EU warns of renewal of violence in Gaza

The EU warned yesterday that violence in the Gaza Strip might be renewed and announced it is ready to take part in the reconstruction of the Strip if its conditions are met.

Two senior officials said that the EU has conditions to take part in the reconstruction that the Israelis and the Palestinians have to accept. They include reaching a lasting ceasefire and the return of the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip.

Europe’s top diplomat Lars Faaborg-Andersen pressed for a long term political solution which would see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority govern the Strip, or at least its restoration.

“There is a need to go back to the Cairo talks as soon as possible,” Faaborg-Andersen said. “If the situation in Gaza goes unaddressed there is a big potential for violence to resume. We must not return to the status quo.”

He added: “We need to see a return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza in order to lead the reconstruction efforts. We do not want to go back to instability within a few months.”

Meanwhile, John Gatt Rutter, the EU’s envoy to the West Bank and Gaza, said that after meeting with local officials the feeling was that “there is great despair and fear that the violence resume. Nothing has changed in the situation in Gaza and life there only got worse.”

He noted extensive damage to water and electricity infrastructure and said Gaza’s residents are looking for a change and want to feel that the world has not forgotten them.

Faaborg-Andersen said that the Egyptians can call for the Palestinian and the Israelis to sit for talks again. Egypt brokered the talks, which led to the temporary ceasefire on August 26.

Stressing the importance of reaching a lasting ceasefire, Faaborg-Andersen said that several donors have pledged money before, but they do not want to pay money on projects that will be demolished again.

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