Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, has expressed his regret and dismay at the absence of any improvement in the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip despite the signing of a reconciliation agreement between Palestinian rivals in Cairo last month.
Briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East on Monday, Mladenov pointed to the power crisis in Gaza and how it adversely affected all basic services.
Talking about settlements, the UN official informed the Council of Israel’s approval of building permits for at least 418 housing units in the east Jerusalem settlements of Gilo and Ramat Shlomo as well as conditional approval of 178 housing units in the settlement of Nof Zion located in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.
“The UN considers all settlement activities illegal under international law. They constitute a substantial obstacle to peace and should cease,” he said.
Also in his briefing, the envoy expressed concern over the implications of the latest developments related to the US decision to close the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) representative office in Washington.
“Only through constructive dialogue can we hope to advance peace and I call on all parties to remain engaged,” he said.