UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland has described a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel as fragile, and called for talks toward a two-state solution to end the cycles of violence.
The past days witnessed a deeply worrying escalation in the Gaza Strip between Israeli military forces and Palestinian armed groups, primarily the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Wennesland told a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East on Monday.
On Sunday evening, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced in separate statements that a ceasefire had been agreed, he said, noting that ceasefire remains in place so far, Xinhua news agency reported.
Citing the crucial role played by Egypt in securing the ceasefire alongside the United Nations, as well as support by related parties, the UN envoy said the de-escalation of the situation helped prevent the outbreak of a full-scale war and allowed for the delivery of much-needed humanitarian relief to the people of Gaza starting earlier on Monday.
But he pointed out that the most recent escalation had its roots in deeper tensions.
“I want to make the Council aware of the following: the ceasefire is fragile. Any resumption of hostilities will only have devastating consequences for Palestinians and Israelis and make any political progress elusive,” he said in his briefing to the Security Council.
Wennesland reiterated calls to the Israeli and Palestinian leadership, along with the international community, to strengthen diplomatic efforts to return to meaningful negotiations toward a viable two-state solution.
“Ultimately, the underlying drivers of this and previous escalations remain. These cycles of violence will only cease when we achieve a political resolution of the conflict that brings an end to the occupation and the realisation of a two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 lines, in line with UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements,” he added.