Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations (UN) Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has told FRANCE 24 that the situation in the Gaza Strip remains extremely tense, warning that “we are always no more than two to three days away from another war in Gaza”.
“This is the situation which we’ve lived in for the past year and a half to two years now”, he said.
According to Mladenov, the first reason for the unstable status quo “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 told FRANCE 24.
The UN envoy 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”, he added.
The UN diplomat also expressed his regret at “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”.