Gaza is about to explode, warns UN official

United Nations—“Gaza is about to explode,” a senior United Nations official warned on Thursday amid a spike in clashes on the border with Israel over the past week.

“Old wounds continue to bleed and deepen as we speak, risking an outbreak of another war,” Nikolay Mladenov, the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East, told the Security Council during an open debate on the crisis.

While his briefing covered the situations in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, it was largely focused on the unfolding crisis along the Gaza fence, which is at the tiny enclave’s border with Israel.

Since March 30, 35 Palestinians have been killed and large numbers injured by Israeli security forces. No Israeli casualties have been reported, the UN official added.

He urged Israel to reduce the use of live fire and called on Hamas, which governs the enclave, and the leaders of the demonstrations to keep protesters away from the Gaza fence.

The combination of the security, development and humanitarian deterioration, coupled with the political impasse, makes Gaza “a powder keg,” Mr Mladenov said, calling for action to prevent another war in the enclave. Gaza Strip was shaken by seven weeks of clashes in the summer of 2014 between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

“People should not be destined to spend their lives surrounded by borders they are forbidden to cross, or waters they are forbidden to navigate,” he said.

“They should not be destined to live under the control of Hamas, which invests in militant activities at the expense of the population.”

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