Internal Palestinian politics are aggravating the crisis in the Gaza Strip, a United Nations report published on Monday warns.
In the 26-page document, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov says that “the continuing dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas over electricity, payment of salaries and the other critical issues have significantly aggravated the situation in Gaza.”
The report will be presented to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) at the bi-annual meeting in Brussels on May 4, 2017.
It says that “Gaza is facing a downward spiral of de-development, while the people in Gaza are caught in a cycle of humanitarian need and perpetual aid dependency.”
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, remains deeply divided from Fatah, the more moderate party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, based in the West Bank.
In recent weeks, Abbas has threatened to exert financial pressure, including cutting wage payments and aid to Gaza, as a way of forcing Hamas to cede ground. Leaders of the group have vowed they will not budge.
The war of words with Hamas is seen as an attempt by Abbas to position himself as a leader of all Palestinians ahead of his first meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday. The president has said he would try to broker Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on a peace deal, despite repeated failures over the past two decades.
The UN has already warned that the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable by 2020.
The document reiterates the international community’s commitment to achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace through the two-state solution, but cites settlement construction and Palestinian violence as two factors that undermine their efforts.
Agencies contributed to this report.