The United Nations special envoy Nicolai Mladenov on Sunday called on both Israel and the Palestinians to restore calm in the Gaza Strip following two days of exchange of fire between Hamas and Israel.
Mladenov told a news conference in Gaza that he calls on the Palestinians to maintain peaceful demonstrations and stop firing rockets, mortars and incendiary balloons, adding “and I call on the Israeli snipers to stop targeting children in Gaza.”
The top UN envoy referred to Friday and Saturday exchange of fire between the Israeli army and Hamas-led militants, where Israeli war jets carried out intensive airstrikes on militants facilities, while militants fired barrages of mortars and rockets into Israel.
“Yesterday, we were on the brink of a real war and there are great efforts to get away from the specter of war because no one wants this confrontation,” said Mladenov, adding that “calm and cease-fire must be restored in Gaza.”
One of Israel’s conditions to restore calm and reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip was to stop releasing incendiary balloons and kites from the Gaza Strip into Israel that caused huge fires in agricultural fields in southern Israel.
Releasing arson balloons and kites stated on March 30, when the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip organized rallies and protests called “the Great Marches of Return and Defying the Israeli Siege” which already left 139 Palestinians killed and 16,000 injured.
Organizers of the rallies said that their protests won’t stop until the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is improved; mainly ending more than 11 years of a tight Israeli blockade had been imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007.
“The humanitarian problem in Gaza must be solved,” he said, adding that any effort to ease the hard living situation in Gaza “will be welcomed, mainly when Egypt decided to keep Rafah border crossing with Gaza permanently open.”
Meanwhile, he called on rival Hamas movement and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Fatah Party to end more than 11 years of internal division that had also influenced the daily life in Gaza and made it very hard.”
“Fatah and Hamas should take the Egyptian initiative seriously,” Mladenov said, adding that “The United Nations will not leave Gaza and there must be one only authority in the Palestinian territories instead of having two.”
Source: The Gaza Post