Mladenov: ‘Support moderate forces’ working to avert Gaza war
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One must stand up to extremists in the region and support the moderate forces working to prevent another war in Gaza, UN Special Coordinator of the Middle East Peace Process told participants of the Women Wage Peace International Congress in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
“Gaza is on the brink of another war,” Mladenov said. “I am proud to say our efforts for the last three months working together with the Israeli government, the Palestinians, the Egyptians and everyone in the region has shown us that we can, if we work together step back from war.”
Last week at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, Mladenov hinted that Iran was working to destabilize the situation in Gaza.
On Tuesday, he told an audience of women in Tel Aviv that they were an important ally in supporting the peace process.
“Yes, we can challenge those extremists, those who breed anger, who breed hatred everywhere in the region and stand up to them and support moderate forces that want to see sustainable forces [stand up] to the challenge that we have today,” he said.
He called on the women to help pressure politicians, Israelis and Palestinians, to return to the negotiating table.
“We have to remove obstacles to peace. We have to bring down the obstacles that divide us,” he said.
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It is important to create conditions that are conducive to peace, including “reducing the language of hatred.”
“Never give up,” he told the group, which was created in the aftermath of the 2014 Gaza war. It brings together Israeli Jewish and Arab women – as well as some Palestinian women – around events dedicated to the important of peace without taking a stance in support of one solution or another.
Some 1,000 women attended the Tel Aviv event, said a spokesperson for the group.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that the main obstacle to peace was the current leadership, but that it can be replaced.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preventing war with Hamas, said Livni, but is also preventing peace.
She said she supported a legislative initiative by the group, which has yet to pass the Ministerial Legislative Committee to require the cabinet to explore strategic alternatives to violence before embarking on a military campaign.
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