Guterres seeking to pressure Israel to lessen restrictions on Gaza 

 PNN/Bethlehem/

On his first visit to Israel since his appointment in January, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will examine the situation in the Gaza Strip and try to pressure Israel in order to make it lessen restrictions and provide more facilitation for Palestinians in Gaza.

Guterres is scheduled to visit the Gaza Strip on Wednesday to examine the work of the UN facilities.

An Israeli official said that the Gaza Strip visit is one of the main goals of Guterres’ tour, and comes in order to assess the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Strip and to demand that more Palestinian patients be allowed to go to Israeli hospitals for treatment. He is also expected to pressure Israel to allow more goods into The Gaza Strip.

Guterres will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over the next two days. This visit is part of his tour to the Middle East as he will be getting a closer look at the problems in the region.

He was to meet with US delegation of the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, who was visiting the region with an American delegation a few days ago.

He is scheduled to meet today with Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Israeli minister of army Avigdor Lieberman, in addition to visiting the Holocaust Museum.

Netanyahu plans to talk to Guterres about Israel’s disapproval of the presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria and the fear of Iran’s expansion of its military industry in Lebanon.

Guterres and Abbas are expected to discuss Abbas’s decision to restrict electricity provided to the Gaza Strip, which has seriously damaged the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip during this meeting.

He will be finishing his visit by going to the settlement around Gaza and meeting the residents of the area. He is also expected to meet with representatives of the Israeli army including the deputy of the General of the Israeli Army, the director of the military intelligence division and the coordinator of government affairs in the territories. The Israeli side intends to inform Gutierrez of the danger of and its opposition to the establishment of Iran’s forces in Syria and Israel’s opposition to it.

During his visit to Israel, Guterres will meet with the families of the missing Israelis in the Gaza Strip, but he is not expected to play a role in solving the crisis because he does not have relations with Hamas and is not supposed to meet with official representatives during his visit to the Gaza Strip.

Israeli sources reported that, that the Secretary-General could indirectly address leaders of Qatar and Egypt, who have ties to Hamas and try to put pressure them.

Negotiations between Guterres and Israel are expected to discuss the address the expansion of the UN mandate for UNIFIL in Lebanon. Israel is intending to briefly inform the secretary-general of the imbalance in the work of UNIFIL. Guterres wrote several days ago to the UN Security Council that he intends to examine ways to increase UNIFIL’s efforts, but stressed that it is the Lebanese army that bears the primary responsibility for the illegal evacuation of southern Lebanon.