In the aftermath of the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip, a fundamental change is needed in the dynamics in the enclave, the United Nations today reported, calling also for renewed urgency in addressing the situation in the West Bank.
“This is the only path that can lay the basis for a dignified civilian life and a renewed effort at Israeli-Palestinian peace,” according to the report, issued by the office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry.
Mr. Serry is due to brief the UN Security Council tomorrow on the situation in Gaza, including efforts to finalize a mechanism to kick-start shelter rehabilitation and reconstruction.
According to the report released today, the major escalation in Gaza has taken a “devastating toll on civilian lives” and resulted in an “unprecedented amount of destruction” which brought into stark relief the need for fundamental change.
Although largely eclipsed by events in Gaza, circumstances on the ground in the West Bank deteriorated, with a rise in violence, continued settlement expansion, land expropriation, and a high number of reported confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces and settlers, the report states.
“Neither Israeli closure nor militant smuggling of weapons or material for tunnels nor the continued division of the Palestinians can offer anything beyond setting the stage for another, even more catastrophic war,” the report reads.
It also highlights that in spite of the continued pressures on the Palestinians and fiscal difficulties affecting the Palestinian Authority (PA) during the past year, further progress has been made in enhancing Palestinian institutions, including advances in national planning, budget management and service delivery.
However, the report explains how the deteriorating socio-economic trends in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip indicate that the status quo is not sustainable and that real progress needs to be made.
The authors wrote that reconstruction, recovery, governance and security in Gaza must take place in the context of the return of one legitimate Palestinian authority, which will have the support of the UN and partners.
The report will be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) to be hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN Headquarters in New York on 22 September.
The AHLC serves as the principal policy-level coordination mechanism for development assistance in the occupied Palestinian territory. The Committee is chaired by Norway and co-sponsored by the European Union and United States.
In addition, the United Nations participates together with the World Bank (Secretariat) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The AHLC seeks to promote dialogue between donors, the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel.