Britain, France and Germany have reportedly launched a new UN bid which aims to end six weeks of horrific violence in the Gaza Strip.In a document obtained by AFP, the three countries pushed for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire which would put an end to the fighting in Gaza, as Egyptian-brokered peace talks in Cairo continue to fail in providing solutions.
The European initiative calls for a lifting of the Israeli blockade and a monitoring mechanism that would report on ceasefire violations, and also verify the flow of goods into the Gaza Strip.
Besides lifting the siege, the proposed plan includes resuming negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization based on the two-state solution.
Diplomats said that the text aims to advance efforts in reaching an agreement within the 15-member UN Security Council on a resolution, following resistance towards Jordan’s draft text, most notably from the United States.
The document calls for the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, which has been under democratically-elected control by Hamas since 2007.
Additionally, it provides for the lifting of economic and humanitarian restrictions on the Gaza Strip in allowing for a massive reconstruction effort, and for the re-opening of border crossings.
It requests that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediately come up with proposals to ‘implement the relevant provisions’ in order to salvage what remains of negotiations.
Ki-moon has pledged international help to rebuild Gaza but warned that this would be ‘for the last time’ after three wars in six years.
According to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency, Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, stated Wednesday:
“Regrettably the cycle of violence has resumed and death and destruction are once again being meted out by Israel, the occupying Power, against the defenseless Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”
Mansour’s statement came as he sent identical letters to the U.N. Secretary-General, President of U.N. Security Council, and President of U.N. General Assembly, addressing the renewed Israeli aggressions on the Gaza Strip:
“Over the past 24 hours, the Israeli occupying forces have carried out more than 60 military airstrikes against densely populated civilian areas in Gaza, killing at least 24 Palestinians, including children and women, and injuring more than 110 people.
“As of today, more than 2,040 Palestinians in Gaza have been brutally and deliberately killed by the Israeli occupying forces, including at least 470 children, and more than 10,300 people have been injured, many of them critically wounded and facing imminent death. Of the injured, at least 3,000 are children, of whom an estimated 1,000 will suffer from a life-long disability.
“This is just one of the many indications that human suffering and trauma continues long after hostilities end and the world’s attention has turned away and that, for many, that suffering tragically continues forever,” Mansour stressed.
“Additionally, more than a quarter of Gaza’s population remains displaced, with over 390,00 Palestinians continuing to shelter in UNRWA schools and with host families, and more than 100,000 people have been rendered homeless by the complete destruction or severe damage caused to their homes by the occupying Power.”
Despite the collapse of Cairo negotiations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held talks in Qatar with exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashal, according to Palestinian and Gulf news agencies.
Azzam al-Ahmad, who led the Palestinian delegation in Cairo, senior negotiator Saeb Erekat and Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj were also present.
Mousa Abu Marzouk of Hamas said, on his Facebook page, that the second meeting will take place this afternoon and will focus on unity, stopping the Israeli aggression and the ‘future of cooperation’.