(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, on Monday called for "the return of one legitimate" Palestinian Authority (PA) to Gaza and rallying behind the government of national consensus.
Whatever ceasefire agreement will emerge later today from the talks being held in Egypt between Israel and the Palestinian factions, it must address governance, reconstruction and security all in the context of the return of the PA, he said in an address the Security Council during its monthly meeting on the situation in the Middle East.
Serry, who attended the Cairo talks, said the PA "must assume institutional restructuring, including of the security sector," and "should also gradually assume the effective and exclusive control of the use of force through the deployment of Palestinian Security Forces to border crossings and throughout Gaza." He called on all in Gaza to "rally behind the Government of National Consensus and empower it to take charge and effect the positive, transformative change that Gaza so badly needs." He conceded that "none of this will be easy. We see no other way to change the dynamics in Gaza," adding that the UN will support the Government of National Consensus (GNC) in those tasks "provided that we are resourced and mandated accordingly - I trust that the Council will consider taking whatever action is needed in support of a durable ceasefire at the appropriate time." Serry also stressed the "importance of an international monitoring arrangement in support of ceasefire understandings." "We must not leave Gaza in the conditions it was in before this latest escalation. Otherwise, the restrictions on the Strip - on exit and entry of goods and people - will continue to fuel instability, underdevelopment and conflict, and I am afraid the next escalation will be just a matter of time," he stressed.
He said the priority in Gaza now is reconstruction, consequently construction materials "must be allowed" into Gaza, insisting that their access to Gaza "must be facilitated in such a way that fulfills Israel's security concerns." He also insisted that reconstruction of the magnitude which is now needed can only be addressed with the involvement at scale of the Palestinian Authority and the private sector in Gaza, adding that "larger quantities of materials are required to enter Gaza." "Right now, Gaza urgently needs houses, hospitals, and schools - not rockets, tunnels, and conflict," he stressed, adding "we expect Hamas, and all other factions, to act responsibly in this regard and refrain from any actions that run counter to this agenda." The third Israeli aggression on Gaza in six years and which began on July 8 resulted in the death of some 2,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and the injury of 10,000 more. Dozens of thousands became homeless as a result of Israel's destruction of their homes, and even of UN facilities where those Palestinians sought refuge.
Serry also drew the Council's attention to the situation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which together with the crisis in Gaza, "should be a bleak warning to all concerned what the future will bring if we do not reverse the current negative trend towards a one-state reality, which is on the parties' doorstep." "The slide toward a state of permanent conflict and hopelessness must be halted at one. The conflict and the occupation that began in 1967 must be ended. The two-state solution is the only viable scenario in this regards, and we must urgently call on and support both parties to return to meaningful negotiations towards a final status agreement," he stressed.