UN Mid-East envoy warns that Israelis and Palestinians are 'on the brink'

Tor Wennesland calls for international diplomacy to prevent further violence


The United Nation’s Middle Peace envoy has called for “firm” diplomatic intervention to prevent further bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians.

In the past months, 35 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli raids in the West Bank to prevent terrorist operations, while seven Israelis died in a Palestinian attack on a synagogue in East Jerusalem.

In a BBC interview, Tor Wennesland, the Norwegian appointed in.2020 as the UN’s special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, warned that the situation was “on the brink”.

He said the USA was now involved “active diplomacy” with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Israel needed to “deal firmly” with the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and settler violence against Palestinians, while the Palestinian security forces needed to regain control in Jenin and Nablus.

He also urged the restoration of security co-operation between Israel and the Palestinians which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced last week he stopping in protest at Israeli military actions.

"There are contacts, but we just had a discussion with the Palestinians on this yesterday,” he told the BBC.  It is not happening in the way it has happened before. They have formally stopped it. It needs to get going again," he said.

He also warned that the Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis posed a threat to stability.

There was “hardly any money coming in from donors” and some governments who had provided funds had “checked out,” he said.

"If you cannot pay salaries to public employees, if you cannot deliver health services, if you cannot buy medicine, if you cannot get the schools [funded], then we are in a very dire situation," he said.

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