The new UN Envoy to the Middle East said Saturday he’s very troubled by fighting among Palestinian factions and the recent Israeli air strikes in
The envoy, Michael C. Williams, met in Gaza City with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr.
“I’m very troubled by the level of violence here,” Williams said. “I think the UN, the international community in general, have been very concerned about the level of intra-Palestinian violence, but also by the Israeli attacks which I know have caused civilian deaths, considerable numbers.”
Abu Amr said the Israeli escalation was “very serious” and urged the international community and the UN to interfere to put an end to the attacks.
In recent days, Israel
has unleashed dozens of air strikes at Hamas targets, in response to a Hamas rocket barrage from Gaza on Israeli border towns. Nearly 50 Palestinians were killed in the air strikes, and an Israeli woman was killed by a rocket.
Earlier this month, more than 50 Palestinians were killed in factional fighting between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah movement.
Nabil Abu Rdeneh, Abbas’ aide, said the president is “working hard” with the factions to achieve a mutual ceasefire, which he will then discuss with the Israelis.
The continued attacks “only help in inflaming the situation,” he said.
A Fatah delegation, led by Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Azam al-Ahmed and Rouhi Fatouh, council to President Abbas, is scheduled to leave for Cairo Saturday to advance dialog with Egyptian leadership regarding the ceasefire between rival Palestinian factions in the Gaza strip.