UN peace envoy to meet Hamas leader in Gaza

Robert Serry, special coordinator for the Middle East process will meet with senior Hamas official in Gaza on Thursday.

UN peace envoy to meet Hamas leader in Gaza
World Bulletin/News Desk
Robert Serry, the UN's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, will meet with senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouq in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, a source close to the Palestinian movement has said.

The source, requesting anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency that Serry – who arrived in the strip Thursday morning – would also meet several Gaza-based cabinet ministers from the Palestinian unity government, along with a number of Gazan businessmen.

Serry entered the blockaded Gaza Strip from Israel via the Erez border terminal, Maher Abu Sabha, head of the Palestinian border authority, told AA.

Serry is supervising a controversial UN-backed plan that aims to impose strict oversight on the use of construction materials in rebuilding the war-battered coastal enclave.

The plan has been criticized by many Palestinian factions and NGOs, which say it will unnecessarily prolong the reconstruction process.

Palestinian Public Works and Housing Minister Mofeed al-Hasayna recently said that Serry had pledged to ease restrictions on construction materials entering the strip.

In October, Israel began allowing the entry of limited amounts of building supplies into the territory – which continues to groan under an eight-year blockade – in line with an agreement between Israel, the UN and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

During Israel's recent 51-day military onslaught on Gaza, 15,671 housing units were damaged across the coastal enclave, including 2,276 that were completely destroyed, according to official Palestinian figures.

More than 2,160 Gazans, mostly civilians, were killed – and another 11,000 injured – during seven weeks of unrelenting Israeli attacks on the embattled strip throughout July and August.

The offensive finally ended on August 26 with the announcement of an indefinite cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions.

Following the announcement of the cease-fire, Serry unveiled plans to impose restrictions on the entry and allocation of construction materials in Gaza.

At an October 12 donor conference in Cairo, 50 countries pledged a total of $5.4 billion to the Palestinian government, half of which was earmarked for reconstruction of the devastated strip.

Israel frequently voices fears that building supplies will be used by Palestinian factions in Gaza to build tunnels and military fortifications.

According to Israeli and western diplomatic sources, the UN plan also calls for the deployment of "international observers" to monitor the Gaza reconstruction process.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after sweeping Palestinian legislative elections one year earlier, is listed as a "terrorist organization" by Israel, the U.S. and the EU.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Aralık 2014, 13:18