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UN offers to monitor Gaza construction material
Published Tuesday 19/08/2014 (updated) 20/08/2014 10:31
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A Palestinian man collects belongings as he inspects a house after
it was destroyed by an Israeli air strike early on July 16, 2014, in
Gaza City.(AFP/Mohamed Abed)
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) -- The United Nations is ready to check imports of construction material sent to Gaza in order to ease Israel's concerns that supplies could be used to rebuild cross-border tunnels, a UN envoy said Monday.

UN Mideast envoy Robert Serry told the UN Security Council that reconstruction of Gaza remained the main priority once a durable ceasefire is agreed between Palestinian factions and Israel.

"Construction material must be allowed into Gaza to this effect -- aggregate, bar, and cement. And their access to Gaza must be facilitated in such a way that fulfills Israel's security concerns," Serry said.

"The United Nations stands ready to lend its support in this regard."

Negotiations over the reconstruction of Gaza are expected to run into resistance from Israel which has in the past severely curtailed the flow of supplies as part of its blockade.

Israel argues that the material may be diverted by Palestinian militants to build tunnels used to bring weapons into the Gaza Strip and to send fighters into Israel to stage attacks.

Serry said some 16,800 housing units have been destroyed or severely damaged in the fighting that erupted on July 8, with the devastation three times worse than during the last Gaza conflict in 2008-2009.

He voiced hope that UN monitoring could be agreed before a major donors conference announced by Norway takes place in Cairo to raise funds for reconstruction.

The Security Council discussed the situation in Gaza just hours before a five-day truce was set to expire at midnight and Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held talks in Cairo.

Serry said the sides should aim "at the very least" to agree on extending the temporary truce that he said had left almost 2,000 Palestinians dead, more than two-thirds of whom are civilians.

The truce was later extended for another 24 hours.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor separately accused the United Nations of bias.

"Have you wondered where the UN gets its casualty figures from? I'll tell you where -- from Hamas!" Prosor told journalists.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric rejected the claim, saying the figures came from the UN Human Rights Commission, which sourced them from various non-governmental organizations.
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1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
19/08/2014 09:45
Hold on, this is the same UN that allowed its UNRWA schools to be used as weapons storage bunkers for Hamas? The same UN that once it found rockets in one of its UN schools gave the rockets back to Hamas instead of destroying them? Sorry, let's get a credible and reliable 3rd party involved, and that is definitely not the UN.

2 ) Kerry / Barbados
19/08/2014 09:46
Who will monitor the ''impartial observers''? We know from past history the demonstrable manifestation of the vitriolic anti Israeli (and some might add anti-Semitic) bias by the UN organization clamouring to declare Israel guilty of war crimes, as the UN has repeatedly accused Israel in the past of everything from massive human rights violations to war crimes to genocide.

3 ) Watch the UN like hawks / Austria
19/08/2014 09:49
The UN has repeatedly shown Israel in the past, that the Gaza residents are unsafe even in UN facilities, as their facilities (schools) were used as arms caches.

4 ) joey / phil
19/08/2014 11:08
let israel rebuild what it destroyed in gaza

5 ) David / USA
19/08/2014 18:52
@Brian Cohen Genocidal exterminators don't get to decide who the 3rd party is.

6 ) JoeFattal / USA
19/08/2014 19:02
@4) If you let Israel rebuild anything in Gaza they might turn around and occupy it. Since when you heard a Jew will do anything for nothing.

7 ) Outlier / USA
19/08/2014 20:30
Probably a non-starter. If the UN cannot be trusted to see and deal with weapons stored in UNRWA schools (even closed schools), it cannot be trusted to keep weapons from being imported in construction material into Gaza.

8 ) ian / australia
20/08/2014 10:57
Mother of G-d. The new tactic seems to be hysterical squawking so annoying critics are bludgeoned into apathy. See Ron Prosor and Brian Cohen (#1). UN bias! UN as mouthpiece and agent for Hamas!! Quoting its figures, spreading its lies, a seething enclave of anti-Semites!!! Jesus. Take a pill. The idea of a secret agenda at the Israel-hating UN to re-arm militants under the pretense of monitoring construction material is beyond raving mad. Of course, BECAUSE it's a perfectly reasonable proposal

9 ) ian / australia
20/08/2014 11:02
(contd.) are falling over themselves to applaud.

10 ) ian / australia (1)
24/08/2014 23:41
Mother of G-d. The new tactic seems to be hysterical squawking so annoying critics are bludgeoned into apathy. See Ron Prosor and Brian Cohen (#1). UN bias! UN as mouthpiece and agent for Hamas!! Quoting its figures, spreading its lies, a seething enclave of anti-Semites!!! Jesus. Take a pill. The idea of a secret agenda at the Israel-hating UN to re-arm militants under the pretense of monitoring construction material is beyond raving mad. Of course, BECAUSE it's a perfectly reasonable proposal

11 ) ian / australia (2)
24/08/2014 23:41
(contd.) which would solve many of Gaza's problems, allowing the battered strip to rebuild, prosper and enjoy a modicum of peace and even bring an end to the "rockets"(with the occupation of the REST of Palestine unchallenged!) Israel will do EVERYTHING to oppose it. It's just too risky. Peace may break out. Leading to international scrutiny, impartiality (G-d forbid) and unwanted talk about borders. That's the message hysteric-in-chief Ron Prosor is sending and which the Amen corner at Ma'an

12 ) ian / australia (3)
24/08/2014 23:42
(contd.) are falling over themselves to applaud.
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