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Mladenov ‘concerned by Israel’s persistent use of live fire against protestors’ in Gaza

A wounded Palestinian protester is evacuated during clashes with Israeli forces, Gaza Strip 19 November, 2018 [Dawoud Abo Alkas/Apaimages]
A wounded Palestinian is evacuated during the Great March of Return following Israel's attack on Palestinian protesters in Gaza on 19 November, 2018 [Dawoud Abo Alkas/Apaimages]

In his briefing to the UN Security Council, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said that he “remain[s] very concerned by Israel’s persistent use of live fire against protestors” in the Gaza Strip.

In his speech, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, he said: “I call on the [Israeli occupation] authorities to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from using lethal force, except as a last resort.”

He also told the UNSC about the latest Israeli offensive on Gaza. “In recent days, we have witnessed another dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza that risked unleashing an armed conflict with catastrophic consequences for two million impoverished Palestinian people.”

Mladenov pointed out that the Gaza residents “have endured three wars and crippling Israeli closures”.

He added: “The Secretary-General warned that a new war in Gaza would bring forth another unbearable tragedy and urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint.”

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The UN official continued: “My team and I worked closely with Egypt and all concerned parties to ensure a return to the 2014 ceasefire arrangements. Thankfully, a precarious restoration of calm has now been achieved. We must all work to ensure that this calm is maintained.”

However, he said: “The fragility of the situation underscores the urgency to fundamentally change the dynamics on the ground, that address the underlying political issues.”

“Two million Palestinians in Gaza cannot be held hostage to political grandstanding and brinkmanship. Their lives matter and they deserve real leadership that addresses the real problems of Gaza.”

“Israel must significantly improve the movement and access of goods and people to and from Gaza as a step towards the lifting of the closures, in line with UNSCR 1860; and the Palestinian Authority must strengthen its engagement in Gaza, which is an integral part of the Palestinian territory.”

Regarding the result of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, he said: “Overall in the reporting period, the Israeli Security Forces (ISF) killed 31 Palestinians Gaza, including four children. One IDF soldier was killed during the 11 November operation in Gaza. Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, ISF [Israeli occupation forces] killed four Palestinians.”

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