Special Coordinator Visits Gaza – 1 June 2021 Daily Press Briefing – (Excerpts)





Today, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, visited the Gaza Strip, in the context of maintaining calm. He is continuing his engagements on political and recovery efforts.

The Special Coordinator remains in close contact with all relevant parties, including the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, on how to move forward on the political file.

Meanwhile, our colleagues from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report that the Erez crossing is open for authorized international personnel. However, it remains closed to Palestinian humanitarian workers and to medical cases. We are, of course, very concerned that the closure, especially on the medical end, and advocacy continues to allow patients requiring urgent medical treatment in the West Bank to cross through Erez.
We understand there are a number of permits that have been filed for for patients, Palestinian patients have not been able to come in.

Regarding two other crossings: the Kerem Shalom crossing is open today for the passage of humanitarian and commercial goods. That latest figures I have areum from yesterday, where 150 trucks crossed, bringing food, animal fodder and other assistance into the Gaza strip. The Rafah crossing – in the south between Egypt and Gaza – is also open for the crossing of goods and people.


Questions and Answers


Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  I have two questions.  First, on 31 August 2006, 19 days after the Israeli attack on south Lebanon, former Secretary-General visited south Lebanon.  He went to see for himself what happened.  And he crossed from there to Israeli side, and he visited even the families of two abducted Israeli soldiers.  On 12 October 2014, former Secretary‑General Ban Ki-moon attended the Donors Conference in Cairo; that means one month and a half after the Israeli attack on Gaza 2014, and he crossed the… to Gaza to see for himself, and he declared that what he saw is unbelievable in Gaza.  Is the Secretary-General… is Mr. [António] Guterres planning, in the near future, to go to see for himself what happened in Gaza before the reconstruction starts?

Spokesman:  I can tell you that the Secretary-General will do whatever he can to mobilize and to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Gaza and to support the people of Gaza.  At this point, I don’t have any travel to confirm or announce to you.

Question:  Thank you.  My second question, Israel, in the last few days, announced two patches of a new settlement unit, over 600, south of east Bethlehem, and today they announce another 300 settlement units in the settlement of Beit El next to Ramallah.  That brings the total over 900 settlement units.  So, why these developments pass with no word?  I mean, is [inaudible] doesn’t make any news?

Spokesman:  Look, I personally had not seen those reports, but what I can tell you, whether or not I’ve seen them, the… or whether or not this has actually happened, our position against the continuation increase of what we consider illegal settlements remains the same.

Question:  But, that… I mean… the announcement came from Israel, and if there is no one say something, then the Israeli will even go further in these activities.

Spokesman:  I don’t know if that was a question.  I can tell you that our position, our principled position against settlements has been very, very clear and will continue to be clear, and I think all the parties involved fully understand that.  All right.  I will get up, and Amy [Quantrill] will take her seat on behalf of the President of the General Assembly… well, I guess will stand, because she’s young.

For information media. Not an official record.

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