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Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told ambassadors that “there is still no end in sight” as the war approaches its 140-day mark.

“No end to the trauma of those impacted by the horrors unleashed on 7 October. No end to the suffering and desperation the people in Gaza. No end to the regional turmoil.”

Mr. Wennesland visited Gaza this week and described the humanitarian situation there as shocking, unsustainable and desperate.

Humanitarian situation

Internally displaced Palestinians are facing acute shortages of food, water, shelter and medicine, while communicable diseases are rising sharply amid unsanitary conditions, and there is a “near total breakdown” in law and order.

He added that the UN Humanitarian Coordinator has a plan to deliver the essentials – food, shelter, medicine and water/sanitation – but the UN’s capacity to deliver depends on coordinated humanitarian movements, effective deconfliction with the parties and Israeli approvals for essential communications equipment and armored vehicles – “all of which provide the minimum conditions for staff to work safely”.

“This must be improved – UN convoys and compounds must not be hit, and our equipment needs clearance,” he stressed.

Keeping Gaza on a drip-feed not only deprives a desperate population of lifesaving support, it drives even greater chaos that further impedes humanitarian delivery,” he added.

Dialogue, not violence

Warning that the scale of the emergency could quickly spiral out of control, Mr. Wennesland appealed for a collective, coordinated and comprehensive response to not only address the immediate crisis in the Strip, but to help restore a political horizon for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

“To do this, we urgently need a deal to achieve a humanitarian ceasefire and the release of hostages,” he stressed, adding also the need to create the space for dialogue.

“Ultimately, the only long-term solution for Gaza is political,” said Mr. Wennesland.

“While taking into account Israel’s legitimate security concern, there must be a clear path towards restoring single, effective Palestinian governance across the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territory), including in Gaza,” he added.

Two-State solution

In addition, international support to strengthen and reform the Palestinian Authority to improve domestic and international legitimacy will be crucial.

To create these conditions, Mr. Wennesland called for a time-bound political framework to end the occupation and negotiate a two-State solution.

“These efforts must coalesce and accelerate if we are to emerge from this nightmare into a trajectory that can provide Palestinians and Israelis with the chance of lasting peace,” he concluded.

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