Qatari envoy, security officials met over escalating Gaza viollence
Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi met Saturday with Israeli security officials in an attempt to quell the escalating violence between the IDF and Hamas, a source confirmed to The Jerusalem Post.
Al-Emadi entered Israel from Gaza through the Erez checkpoint and met with representatives from the Shin Bet, the Office of the Coordinator for Government Activities and the Southern Command, according to the Arabic Al-Quds website. He returned to Gaza where he has been holding talks with Hamas for a number of days.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov on Friday took to Twitter to warn that an escalation in Gaza is imminent unless both Israelis and Hamas exercise restraint and pull back from the brink.
“I am VERY concerned that escalation is imminent,” he tweeted.
He spoke in the aftermath of an exchange of fire between Palestinian militants in Gaza and the IDF. Over the last weeks Palestinians have launched incendiary balloons and rockets against southern Israel, and the IDF in turn has conducted nightly aerial raids against military targets.
This included Friday morning when the IDF struck Hamas facilities, after six rockets were launched at Israel. Over the weekend Israeli firefighters battled over 45 blazes in southern Israel due to incendiary balloons.
Already, two weeks ago Israel in response halted shipments of fuel that Gaza relies on to produce electricity. As a result, Gaza’s sole power plant has shut down and the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza now have only two or three hours of electricity a day.
Israel has stopped the passage of all but humanitarian goods, through Gaza’s main commercial crossing at Kerem Shalom. It has also closed the Mediterranean to Gaza fishermen.
The violence and the drop in electricity has occurred as Palestinians in Gaza are struggling to reign in their first serous outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Until this month, Gaza had been spared. All those who had contracted the disease, did so while outside the strip and were diagnosed upon their return.
“The situation in and around #Gaza is rapidly deteriorating. Militants continue to launch projectiles and incendiary devices. The tightening of closures is making life inside the Strip unbearable. Electricity is down to [three] hours, hospitals barely functioning,” Mladenov wrote.
“While the situation in #Gaza deteriorates, there is a rapid increase of #COVID19 cases among the population. With a failing health system, no electricity, unemployment soaring, continuing militant activity [and] closures.”
"#Palestinian militants must immediately stop the launching of projectiles, incendiary devices. #Israel must restore #UN fuel deliveries for electricity. Under the current circumstances no mediation efforts to prevent escalation & improve the situation can succeed,” he added.
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