U.N. Envoy: ‘Devastating’ Israel-Hamas Clash Averted in Gaza

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -
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Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

The U.N. Mideast envoy has said that Israel and Hamas were “minutes away” from another “devastating confrontation” in Gaza over the weekend — a clash averted after U.N. and Egyptian diplomatic efforts got both sides to “step back from the brink.”

Nikolay Mladenov told the Security Council on Tuesday that he just returned from Gaza and “the situation is calming down although tensions remain” and the situation remains “perilous.”

He expressed hope that “with collective efforts by all sides we can avoid another war.”

But Mladenov warned that “unless we begin in earnest the crucial work required to change the current deteriorating dynamics, another explosion is almost a certainty.”

He stressed that “Gazans deserve to live their lives in freedom and dignity” and progress will require de-escalation and calm, greater coordination, and financial support.