REUTERS – The United Nations, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached a deal to allow reconstruction work to begin in the war-torn Gaza Strip with UN monitoring of the use of materials, UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry said on Tuesday.
Serry told the UN Security Council that the United Nations had brokered the deal “to enable work at the scale required in the strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort, while providing security assurances through UN monitoring that these materials will not be diverted from their entirely civilian purpose.”
Fifty days of conflict in Gaza between Hamas militants and Israel, which ended late last month, has left swathes of the Mediterranean enclave in ruins.
The Palestinian Authority said in a study recently that the reconstruction work would cost $7.8 billion, two and a half times Gaza’s gross domestic product, including $2.5 billion for the reconstruction of homes and $250 million for energy.
Report says regime must compromise with mainstream opposition to block jihadists who are spreading terror across country
Times of Israel
The UN commission investigating war crimes in Syria blamed President Bashar Assad’s government for committing the bulk of atrocities inside the war-torn country, exceeding the toll from the horrific massacres perpetrated by Islamic State fighters.
The head of the UN commission, Brazilian diplomat and scholar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, described the Islamic State extremist group and anti-government armed groups capturing the world’s attention as “agents of death and destruction,” but emphasized the government’s sieges and attacks in Syria’s civil war which has killed over 190,000 people and destabilized the region.
The Syrian government remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily, both from a distance using shelling and aerial bombardment and up close, at its checkpoints and in its interrogation rooms,” Pinheiro told the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
He lamented the regime’s “starvation or submission” strategy through drawn-out sieges and indiscriminate attacks.
Checkpoints meanwhile “are often the starting point of a horrific journey of disappearance, torture, sexual abuse and, for many, death,” he said, calling the barriers “a source of terror to the civilians they encircle.”
Pinheiro strssed that the Syrian government and mainstream opposition must seek compromise to end three and half years of bloody civil war and block the rise of murderous jihadists.
“The rise of (Islamic State fighters) has emphasized the need for the government and mainstream opposition to find common ground and to commit to making compromises,” he said.
‘We have charted the descent of the conflict into the madness where it now resides’