BICOM has published an update on the heightened risk of conflict in Gaza. It comes ahead of an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss Gaza and the two-state solution, convened by Norway and the European Union for 31 January. The US, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) will also participate.
Whilst the meeting will not be able to resolve the underlying issues created by Hamas’s control in the Gaza Strip, it represents an opportunity to refocus international donor attention on what can be done to address crises in water, electricity, sewage and access.
The risk of conflict is rising, even if neither Hamas nor Israel want it, due to several factors including:
- An increase in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip led by smaller Jihadist groups.
- The increasing pace of Israeli efforts to detect and destroy Hamas tunnels.
- Increasing economic and humanitarian challenges which may be heightened by cuts in US aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
- The stalling of a reconciliation agreement between Palestinian factions;
- Encouragement from Iran to its proxies.
The full briefing is available as a PDF below.