UN envoy warns Gaza facing ‘full collapse’
Tel Aviv, Israel - A senior United Nations official on Tuesday warned the Palestinian coastal enclave of the Gaza Strip was on the verge of ‘full collapse’.
UN Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov said a key to saving Gaza from disaster was restoring the government of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to power there, a decade after it was forced out by the Hamas movement.
“Without that Gaza risks exploding in our face again, this time in a far more deadly and violent manner than in the past,” Mladenov said at the annual conference of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies.
Gaza, battered since 2008 by three wars between Israel and Palestinian militants, suffers from shattered infrastructure, a strict Israeli blockade and mas- sive unemployment.
Earlier this month, the White House froze tens of millions of dollars in contributions to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
“I often say publicly, in (UN) Security Council briefings and in other formats, that we are in the midst of a major humanitarian crisis,” Mladenov said. “Let me be very clear today here, that we're well beyond that.”
“We’re on the verge of a total systems failure in Gaza, with a full collapse of the economy, with social services, political, humanitarian and security implications stemming from that.” Mladenov said he would raise those concerns in Brussels on Wednesday at a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which coordinates international donor support for the Palestinians.