While welcoming the evacuation by Israeli security forces of some 200 settlers from a house in Hebron in occupied Palestinian territory, a senior United Nations official today condemned ensuing settler violence against Palestinians, calling for an immediate end to such attacks.
“As the occupying power, the Government of Israel is under obligation to protect Palestinian civilians, property and holy sites,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry said in a statement, denouncing the destruction and desecration of Palestinian property, mosques and graves, as well as settler attacks on Israeli security forces.
“I remain concerned about the potential for a further escalation of a tense situation. I call for an immediate end to settler attacks and restraint and calm from all parties, and urge vigilance from the Israeli authorities to ensure that the events of yesterday are not repeated.”
He added that extremists’ actions continued to pose a threat to the peace process, and further underlined the need for action to fulfil the commitments of the Roadmap plan, which calls for a two-State solution with Israel and the Palestinians living side by side in peace.
Meanwhile Mr. Serry’s office in Jerusalem, known as UNSCO, reported that all Gaza goods crossings were closed today after a partial opening yesterday. Once again, no humanitarian supplies, fuel or commercial commodities are being allowed in but the limited fuel that did get in yesterday has led to fewer power cuts in Gaza City.
UN officials, from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on downwards, have repeatedly called on Israel to urgently permit the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s civilians. At the same time, Mr. Ban has reiterated his condemnation of rocket attacks by Palestinian militants in Gaza against Israeli civilian targets, which Israel has cited as a reason for the closures.