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"I like this violence" US peace envoy says

US supported Fatah-Hamas fighting says UN envoy The US “clearly pushed for a confrontation between Fatah and Hamas up until the formation of a National Unity Government in the Palestinian territories, according to a secret document penned by UN Middle East envoy Alvaro de Soto and published by The Guardian newspaper. In the End of …


US supported Fatah-Hamas fighting says UN envoy

The US “clearly pushed for a confrontation between Fatah and Hamas up until the formation of a National Unity Government in the Palestinian territories, according to a secret document penned by UN Middle East envoy Alvaro de Soto and published by The Guardian newspaper.

In the End of Mission Report written by de Soto as he steps down from his post, he quotes the US envoy as saying “I like this violence on two separate occasions, in reference to the infighting between Fatah and Hamas. This was because “it means other Palestinians are resisting Hamas, de Soto quoted the US envoy as saying.

This was in reference to, as de Soto put it, “the near-civil war that was erupting in Gaza in which civilians were regularly being killed and injured.

The comments came before the Mecca agreement to form a Palestinian National Unity Government.

According to de Soto, the US believed that international boycott and isolation of the elected Hamas government would push it towards compromise, a premise the UN envoy fervently disagreed with.

“The same result would have been achieved much earlier [without the boycott] in which so much damage was done to Palestinian institutions, and so much suffering brought to the people of the occupied territory, in pursuit of a policy that didn’t work, which many of us believed from the outset wouldn’t work, and which, I have no doubt, is at best extremely short-sighted, de Soto wrote. De Soto’s report, intended only for senior UN officials, was published by the British newspaper The Guardian. Authored solely by de Soto, it forgoes traditional UN diplomatic language.

“It is a confidential document and not intended for publication, he told The Guardian. Nevertheless, the newspaper has placed the entire 53-page report on its web site.

The UN envoy also maintains that the US supports the Israeli stance of freezing Palestinian custom duties which Israel collects on its behalf and has refused to give back with the exception of one $100 million payment.

De Soto wrote: “The US happens to support Israel on this action, even though it flies in the face of the very ‘previous agreements’ that the Quartet [US, EU, UN and Russia] expects the PA (Palestinian Authority) to adhere to.

Bizarrely, despite his title as UN Secretary General’s Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestine Authority, he was prohibited from initiating contact with the Palestinians and would contact them by phone only when asked to by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. De Soto claimed that this was a serious impediment to his work, and his attempts at seeking an explanation for this were never met with clarifications.

Bizarrely, despite his title as UN Secretary General’s Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestine Authority, he was prohibited from initiating contact with the Palestinians and would contact them by phone only when asked to by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. De Soto claimed that this was a serious impediment to his work, and his attempts at seeking an explanation for this were never met with clarifications.

Additionally, de Soto’s report states that the Zionist aliyah project – to eventually inhabit the lands of Eretz (Greater) Israel, from the Nile to the Euphrates – had not succeeded, which the Israelis have recently realized, and that a potential Palestinian population explosion means that the idea is no longer tenable.

The UN envoy also stressed that Hamas must be talked to, not cut off and contrasted the dealings with Hezbollah as a case in point.

“Contrast what we do in Lebanon – talking to Hezbollah, which is not the elected government [as Hamas was] or the majority party [as Hamas still is], and which started an international war last summer [unlike Hamas, whose restraint over the last two years is undeniable.] If we really tied our diplomatic boycotts to behaviour, we’d talk to Hamas and boycott Hezbollah. But we talk to Hezbollah, and rightly so, because they are important and no solution to Lebanon’s problems is achievable without their buy-in. It should be the same in Palestine in Hamas, he said.

Fighting between Fatah and Hamas intensified with 26 people killed in the Gaza Strip as the Palestinians teeter on the brink of outright civil war. De Soto was interviewed by The Daily Star Egypt last March and said at the time that “Palestinian infighting is a tragedy, it’s unacceptable.

Ambassador de Soto, from Peru, has throughout his service for the UN arbitrated as Personal Representative in the Central American peace process as well as Special Envoy for other hotspots such as Cyprus and the Western Sahara. He was also a Senior Political Advisor for former Egyptian UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. He has served in the UN for over a quarter of a century and was the UN envoy for the Middle East Process from 2005 up till last May.

“What we do in the Middle East has repercussions everywhere, de Soto said.

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