Tuesday

17th Jan 2017

Report: EU countries set out new vision for Gaza

  • Gaza-Egypt border crossing: the EU wants Israel to end its seven-year blockade (Photo: EUobserver)

France, Germany, and the UK have circulated a draft UN resolution on the Gaza conflict designed to end the rule of Hamas in return for Israel lifting its seven-year blockade of the Strip.

The text, entitled “Elements”, was circulated in New York earlier this week and leaked on Thursday (21 August) to Israeli daily Haaretz.

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According to the newspaper, the resolution calls for Hamas, a militant group which advocates armed resistance against Israel, to hand over power to the Palestinian Authority, which is prepared to recognise Israel in return for the creation of a Palestinian state.

It also calls for Israel to lift its “economic and humanitarian restrictions” on access to Gaza and to reopen all Gaza crossing points.

It says a new international mission would supervise reconstruction of damaged buildings and infrastructure, the free movement of goods and people, help build up the PA's administrative resources and security forces in the Strip, prevent militants from rearming, and “ensure effective communications” between the new Gaza authorities and Israel.

The resolution condemns “all violence and hostilities directed against civilians, as well as indiscriminate attacks resulting in civilian casualties, and all acts of terrorism.”

It also says there should be “renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community to resume the negotiations in order to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of two democratic States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side on the basis of the pre-1967 borders in peace and security”.

The initiative comes after ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israeli representatives in Cairo collapsed on Tuesday, leading to renewed fighting.

But a diplomat with knowledge of the Cairo process told EUobserver the “Elements” text is based on the “same content as the Cairo negotiations”.

“This [the UN initiative] cannot replace the negotiations. So even if the [UN] Security Council adopts this, but the two parties are not willing to implement it, it has little value, because they will not do so due to some new international coercion”.

The latest Gaza conflict erupted in early June. Israel says Hamas started it by firing rockets, but Hamas says Israel started it by arresting hundreds of its people in the West Bank in an attempt to destroy a new unity government between rival Palestinian political factions.

According to Gaza authorities, Israeli bombardments of Gaza and a brief ground incursion have killed over 2,000 Palestinians, more than 70 percent of whom are civilians and more than 450 of whom are children.

Hamas rocket fire has killed 64 Israeli soldiers, two Israeli civilians and one Thai-national civilian in Israel.

An Israeli air strike on Thursday also killed three senior Hamas commanders, while a strike on Wednesday killed the wife and two children of Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif, auguring further escalation of the conflict.

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