UN gets report on what Palestinians say is Gaza catastrophe

Palestinians wait for their turn to enter the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb, 8, 2018. Egyptian officials say the country has opened its border with the Gaza Strip for the first time this year. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian children wait with their families to enter the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb, 8, 2018. Egyptian officials say the country has opened its border with the Gaza Strip for the first time this year. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians wait for their turn to enter the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb, 8, 2018. Egyptian officials say the country has opened its border with the Gaza Strip for the first time this year. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians wait for their turn to enter the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb, 8, 2018. Egyptian officials say the country has opened its border with the Gaza Strip for the first time this year. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations' Mideast envoy briefed the Security Council behind closed doors Wednesday at the request of Kuwait and Bolivia on what Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour called the "catastrophic" humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Llorentty Soliz said Nikolay Mladenov, the special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the council that drinking water is short, hospitals have been closed and "doctors stopped doing surgeries." Mladenov also cited Gaza's 47 percent unemployment rate, rising to 60 percent for young people, he said.

Llorentty Soliz said he highlighted that the situation in Gaza has been worsened by the U.S. suspension of millions of dollars in funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, known as UNRWA, was notified Jan. 16 that the U.S. was withholding $65 million of a planned $125 million installment. The U.S. demanded a "fundamental re-examination" of the agency in addition to changes to its programs, which have been heavily criticized by Israel.

Llorentty Soliz said he told the council the primary responsibility for "the catastrophic situation in Gaza" rests with Israel.

Israel's U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, countered that the responsibility lies with the Islamic militant group Hamas, which dominates Gaza.

Hamas "has been holding the people of Gaza hostage in pursuit of its own nefarious goals, ignoring their most basic needs. Hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid that should go directly towards humanitarian purposes have been misappropriated towards terror," Danon said in a statement to AP.

Mansour said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the Security Council on Feb. 20 on the situation of all Palestinians and will ask members to implement U.N. resolutions "to end the occupation that started in 1967, to allow for the independence of the state of Palestine, and therefore to save the two-state solution."

Since the mid-1990s, several U.S.-mediated rounds of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on setting up a Palestinian state alongside Israel have ended in failure.

Gaps in positions only widened in the past decade as Israeli settlement expansion continued and the Palestinians failed to end a crippling political split between Hamas and Abbas' internationally backed self-rule government in parts of the West Bank.

The gap has widened even further since Dec. 6 when U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestine and Abbas said Trump's action ruled out the United States as a mediator for peace.

Danon said: "Instead of coming to the Security Council with the intent to incite against Israel, chairman Abbas should instead focus on disarming Hamas and putting an end to its regime of terror."

Must Read

TV executive predicts 500-show bubble destined to deflate

Aug 9, 2016

Television viewers know there's a mind-boggling array of shows to attempt to watch, but FX Networks chief executive John Landgraf predicts that change is coming

10 Things to Know for Thursday

Aug 11, 2016

Among 10 Things to Know: Criticism may be slowing Trump train; 'Grim Sleeper' sent to death row; versatile ESPN sportscaster dies at 61

If Trump can't get along with GOP, how will he govern?

Aug 9, 2016

Beyond the political fallout from Donald Trump's rocky relationship with party elders lies a fundamental reality: Should he win the presidency, the brash billionaire will have to work closely with the same GOP leaders he vilified on the campaign trail

People also read these

Rio authorities step up security after bus windows shattered

Aug 10, 2016

Military police in Rio de Janeiro are stepping up security at the Olympics after a bus carrying journalists had two of its windows shattered by a projectile and a bullet flew into the stables of the equestrian venue

Valeant's rosy forecast and promised changes, fire up shares

Aug 9, 2016

Drugmaker Valeant posts big 2Q loss, but execs tout turn-around plan and reassured investors drive up shares

Rare 4th-century mosaic of chariot race found in Cyprus

Aug 10, 2016

A Cypriot archaeologist says a mosaic floor dating to the 4th century has been uncovered depicting scenes from a chariot race in the hippodrome, the only one of its kind in Cyprus and one of only a handful in the world

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH