AMMAN: The Palestinian Authority (PA) has expressed concern about what it says are attempts by the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas behind the PA’s back, a senior Palestinian official told Arab News.
But the PA does not consider Nickolay Mladenov persona non grata, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Earlier, Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, said Palestinian officials had told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Mladenov was “no longer acceptable” to the PA because he had “gone beyond his role” in seeking agreements between Israel and rival Palestinian faction Hamas, which controls Gaza.
Annes Sweidan, head of the PLO’s international relations office in Ramallah, told Arab News that Mladenov “isn’t an honest broker, and seems to be working according to the agenda of Hamas, Israel and Qatar with the aim of carrying out the US peace plan by circumventing the Palestinian leadership.”
Mladenov is buying into Israeli and US efforts to “ease the humanitarian situation rather than the end of the occupation,” Sweidan said.
Diana Buttu, a lawyer and former adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team, said the PA is paying no attention to the humanitarian situation.
“That is the problem. The PA, instead of trying to alleviate the humanitarian disaster deliberately caused by Israel, is exacerbating it and castigating those who try to make life slightly more bearable under Israel’s siege,” she told Arab News.
“It’s the PA’s job to find a political solution, not the UN’s. The PA leadership treats Palestinians as though they’re political pawns.”
Palestinian officials have said while they are unhappy with Mladenov, boycotting him will not serve a positive purpose.
“The message has been received and understood, so there’s no need to take it any further,” said the senior Palestinian official.
Guterres said in a statement that he “fully supports the efforts of… Mladenov, who has been working tirelessly with all concerned parties… to change the dynamics in Gaza — to avoid escalation, to support intra-Palestinian reconciliation and to address all humanitarian issues.”
Guterres expressed hope that “relieving the humanitarian pressure in Gaza will reduce the tensions that risk a devastating armed conflict in Gaza and create space for the PA and Hamas to engage seriously with Egypt on reconciliation.”
He added: “However, any humanitarian response to Gaza’s problems can only be temporary and limited in scope. What is needed is a political breakthrough that will… progress toward advancing a negotiated two-state solution based on relevant UN resolutions and previous agreements.” Meanwhile, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian protesters in Gaza on Friday.