UN envoy ‘no longer acceptable’ for Palestinians

Nickolay Mladenov (on screen) briefs the UN Security Council from Jerusalem on the situation in the Middle East as the Council meets on Israel and Palestine in New York, May 23, 2018. — Reuters pic
Nickolay Mladenov (on screen) briefs the UN Security Council from Jerusalem on the situation in the Middle East as the Council meets on Israel and Palestine in New York, May 23, 2018. — Reuters pic

RAMALLAH, Oct 12 — The Palestinian leadership will no longer work with the UN peace envoy, a senior official said yesterday, accusing him of overstepping his role by seeking a deal between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas.

Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) executive committee, said it had informed the UN secretary general that envoy Nickolay Mladenov was “no longer acceptable” to the Palestinian government.

Mladenov had “gone beyond his role” in seeking agreements between Israel and rival Palestinian faction Hamas, which controls Gaza, he said, adding that his actions impacted “Palestinian national security and the unity of our people.”

There was no immediate comment from Mladenov or confirmation from the United Nations.

“After the Palestinians said ‘no’ to Israel and ‘no’ to the Americans, they are now saying ‘no’ to the UN as well,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said in a statement.

“In this decision, Abu Mazen (Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas) is continuing to lead the Palestinian Authority to international isolation, which ultimately harm the Palestinians.”

Mladenov, alongside Egypt, has been seeking a long-term truce agreement between Hamas and the Jewish state, without including Abbas’s internationally recognised government in the indirect negotiations.

The talks have stalled, partly due to pressure form Abbas, but on Tuesday a smaller UN-brokered agreement was reached for Qatar to finance much-needed fuel deliveries to Gaza for six months.

Abbas’s government was not involved in that deal and Mladenov’s strategy has angered Palestinian politicians.

The Palestinian Authority headed by Abbas has semi autonomy in parts of the occupied West Bank but lost control of Gaza to Hamas in a near-civil war in 2007.

The international community has since worked with the PA.

The PLO has recognised Israel and signed a series of peace treaties with it, while Hamas has fought three wars with the Jewish state since 2008. — AFP

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