AUN representative has condemned the Gaza conflict as a “major setback” for the Palestinian Authority, calling it “the biggest defeat” for its long-term goals.
Benjamin Nahshon, the UN special envoy for the Middle East peace process, delivered his strongest criticism yet of Hamas for what he said was its continued refusal to give up control of the Gaza Strip, where it has built hundreds of homes, schools and other infrastructure, and where it continues to deny the Israeli blockade of the coastal enclave.
Nahshon also said he hoped to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the coming days, in a rare public appearance.
“I hope the PA and Hamas will meet in the next few days to discuss our mutual concerns, including the Palestinian people’s aspirations for a better future, including a peace agreement,” Nahshoff told the Security Council.
“They should work towards the realization of their goals.”
Nahishon said the Palestinian leadership had been “unable to establish any political consensus” to end the conflict.
He said the PA leadership was facing “a massive challenge” to secure international support, and that it had “failed to build consensus on a political roadmap to the end of this conflict”.
Hamas, which controls Gaza’s southern border with Israel, has been fighting to keep the Strip under the control of an Islamist militant group for over two years.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in August 2015 after Hamas militants fired rockets at Israel from the Gaza strip, killing four Israelis.
It has since launched more than 1,200 air strikes on Hamas targets, killing at least 2,027 Palestinians and 66 Israelis.
A senior Palestinian official said Nahshont’s visit was a “very important step”.
“We hope that the Palestinian delegation will be able to work on a roadmap for achieving the objective of a lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians,” Riyad Mansour, head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s political bureau, told AFP news agency.
“We have never given up the Gaza issue.
We still have no solution.
We have a long way to go.”
Palestinian leaders have not commented on Nahshons visit.
The Palestinian leader’s visit comes amid a sharp decline in US-Israel ties, which plummeted after the killing of four Americans at the hands of an Islamic State militant in 2016.
Israel has long accused Hamas of trying to destabilise the Palestinian government, and the Palestinians have dismissed such allegations.
Israel, however, says Hamas was behind the 2016 attack and its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, is currently being held in Egypt.
Israel says Haniyes arrest was based on false accusations by the Palestinians, and accuses Haniya of trying unsuccessfully to undermine the peace process.
Hamas denies all accusations.