UN Chief Proposes Armed Peacekeeping Force to Protect Palestinians in Gaza

Guterres' propositions follow General Assembly resolution in June condemning violence in the Strip ■ Application seems less likely following recent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas

Tear gas canisters, thrown by Israeli forces, fall onto Palestinian protesters during a demonstration along the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City, August 17, 2018.
AFP

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres published a special report Friday, following a General Assembly resolution condemning the violence in Gaza, detailing ways the organization could protect Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Guterres' propositions range from establishing an armed military or police force to deploying civilian observers and expanding humanitarian aid programs.

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The General Assembly tasked the UN chief with writing the report in June following the turbulent demonstrations along the Gaza border fence. The probability of such proposals being advanced, as the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas has gone into effect, is low. Particularly the option of sending an armed force, which would require Security Council approval that the U.S. is likely to veto.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Moscow, June 21, 2018
AFP

Israeli UN envoy Danny Danon responded to the report on Saturday by saying that "the only protection the Palestinian people need is from their own leadership."

"The Palestinian Authority incites its people to attack Jews, and the terrorist organization Hamas uses the Gazan public as hostages and risks the lives of residents for terror," said Danon. "Instead of delusional recommendations on ways to protect the Palestinians from Israel, the UN should lay the responsibility of harming the Palestinian people on their leaders."

On Friday, it was reported that a deal being negotiated between Israel and Hamas via UN and Egyptian mediation entails a commitment to rebuild the Gaza Strip's infrastructure and a prisoner swap to secure the release of Israeli civilians and soldiers' remains held by the Palestinian organization.

The terms are essentially identical to those established after the 2014 war in Gaza and are similar to those agreed upon after the 2012 military campaign in the Strip. Defense officials and the Prime Minister's Office thus prefer to refer to it as a return to the status quo before the escalation in tensions that began several months ago, with the start of weekly protests at the Gaza-Israel.