Tangible steps “can, and must, be taken” to urgently reverse the “negative trajectory” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and revive the peace process, a senior United Nations envoy told the Security Council on Tuesday. “Against the backdrop of the complete political deadlock of the Middle East peace process and the lack of any perspective to revive it,” Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said that “the rising specter of violence in the West Bank and Gaza” threatens a regional escalation. Warning again of repercussions over the lack of a political horizon towards resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the two-state solution, he said that unilateral moves on the ground, terror attacks and a multitude of other factors risk are creating “an explosive mix” that can only be resolved through strong leadership returning to the table for “meaningful negotiations towards a sustainable and just peace”. Mr. Mladenov, who briefed the Council via videconference from Jerusalem, elaborated on the need for “a leadership that can stand up to extremists and radicals and uphold what the international community, the Security Council and the region have said so many times – that lasting peace can only be based on the idea that Israelis and Palestinians live side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, as both peoples have a legitimate and historic right to their own statehood”. Straying from a framework based on UN resolutions and mutual agreements will lead to “inevitable radicalization”, stressed Mr. Mladenov. Giving up on the
The military wing of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement Hamas says it successfully “overcame” Israel’s so-called Iron Dome missile system during its recent confrontation with the Tel Aviv regime thanks to its new rocket-launching tactic.
Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said in a social media post on Monday that the fresh rocket-launching tactic had overwhelmed the so-called Iron Dome missile system, leading to the deaths and injuries of numerous Israelis in two days.
“The Qassam Brigades, thanks to God, succeeded in overcoming the so-called Iron Dome by adopting the tactic of firing dozens of missiles in one single burst,” he said.
“The high intensity of fire and the great destructive ability of the missiles that were introduced by the Qassam [Brigades]… succeeded in causing great losses and destruction to the enemy,” Obeida noted.
A surge in deadly violence in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel petered out overnight with Palestinian officials reporting that Egypt had mediated a ceasefire on Monday ending the most serious spate of cross-border clashes for months. The latest round of fighting erupted three days ago, peaking on Sunday when rockets and missiles from Gaza killed four civilians in Israel. Israeli strikes killed 21 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians, over the weekend.
Two Palestinian officials and a TV station belonging to Hamas, Gaza’s Islamist rulers, said a truce had been reached at 0430 a.m. (0130 GMT), apparently preventing the violence from broadening into a conflict neither side seemed keen on fighting.
Israel did not formally confirm the existence of a truce with Hamas and its allied Gaza faction Islamic Jihad, militants that it, like much of the West, designates as terrorists.
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired scores of rockets into southern Israel on Saturday, wounding at least two Israeli civilians and triggering retaliatory airstrikes and tank fire against militant targets in the blockaded enclave and shattering a month-long lull in violence.
Israeli officials said a 50-year-old woman was severely wounded by rocket fire, while a teenage boy was mildly hurt as he ran for cover. Gaza's Health Ministry said a 22-year-old Palestinian man was killed by an Israeli airstrike, and seven other Palestinians were wounded. Israeli police said a house in the coastal city of Ashkelon was damaged.
The outbreak of fighting came as leaders from Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, and the smaller armed faction Islamic Jihad were in Egypt for talks with mediators aimed at restoring a fraying cease-fire. Hamas leaders have hoped the recent calm would pave the way for a deeper, longer-term cease-fire.
Tensions have been rising in recent days amid allegations from Hamas that Israel has been delaying implementation of last month's cease-fire understandings.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said a 22-year-old Palestinian, Emad Nassir, was killed by an Israeli airstrike. Six other Palestinians sustained injuries from airstrikes and shelling. In Israel, there were no reports of injuries, and police said a house in the coastal city of Ashkelon was damaged.
Violence is on the rise in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Israeli authorities are continuing to demolish and confiscate Palestinian-owned homes and property, in contravention of international law, the United Nations envoy for the Middle East Peace Process said on Thursday.
“It is hard to articulate the flesh and blood meaning of the exposed lives Palestinians endure under occupation,” he said, calling on Security Council members to act to reduce their suffering.