The ambassadors met in person in New York as a fragile cessation of hostilities continues after 11 days of deadly conflict that engulfed occupied Palestinian territory and several cities in Israel this month.
“These recent events have once again clarified the costs of perpetual conflict and lost hope”, She said Mr Wennesland, officially UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
He spoke by teleconference from Jerusalem, and shortly thereafter the UN and partners announced a $ 95 million flash appeal to support people in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Political and humanitarian response
Wennesland stressed the need for the parties to return to the negotiating table, while warning against a “business as usual” approach.
“In the end, it is the lack of the proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ – of a political horizon – after decades of conflict, which kills hope and gives space to those not interested in sustainable peace. “He said.
“Only through negotiations that end the occupation and create a viable two-state solution, based on UN resolutions, international law and mutual agreements, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, can we hope to finally end to these senseless and costly cycles of violence ”.
‘Hell on earth’
The latest conflict between Israel and armed groups in Gaza was among the most intense hostilities we have seen in years.
Wennesland reported that Hamas and other militants fired more than 4,000 rockets from Gaza, a significant number of which were intercepted by the Israeli air defense system, Iron Dome, while Israel carried out over 1,500 attacks on what it said were militant targets. .
The UN estimates that more than 250 Palestinians, including entire families, have been killed, with 66 children among the victims. 13 people were killed in Israel: nine civilians, including two children, as well as three foreigners and a soldier.
Relentless airstrikes have forced some 70,000 people in Gaza to seek refuge in schools run by the United Nations agency that assists the Palestinian people, UNRWA.
The staff who ventured into the fighting daily to help them described the period as “hell on earth”, She said UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini, speaking from his headquarters in East Jerusalem.
Strengthen the United Nations agency
Mr. Lazzarini was in Gaza earlier this week. He said virtually everyone he met reported feeling terrified and traumatized.
“I have met parents who, every night, wondered whether to let all their children sleep next to them or spread them around the house,” he said. “Should they all die together? Or should they try to save some by dispersing them? ”
Mr. Lazzarini said that until there is a political solution to the conflict, only a strong UNRWA can bring “a sense of normality” to Palestinian lives. He stressed the need for reliable and sufficient funding for his work in providing essential services, such as education.
The United Nations and partners said at least 57 schools, nine hospitals and 19 primary health care centers were partially or completely damaged in the fighting, which occurred while Gaza’s health system was facing the burden of COVID-19.
The $ 95 million appeal, launched Thursday in Jerusalem, targets one million people over the next three months, in the areas of protection, health, water and sanitation, education and security. food.
Speaking to reporters in New York, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lynn Hastings, noted that while buildings can be repaired, the concern is about the impact of repeated conflicts on the psychosocial well-being of residents of Gaza, especially children.
“But while the immediate needs on the ground have been outlined in the lightning appeal launched today … we all need to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes that keep bringing us back to rebuilding Gaza,” he said.