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24 May 2007
Gaza peacekeeping force should be considered-UN envoy
Thu May 24, 2007 9:47AM EDT
JERUSALEM, May 24 (Reuters) - Israel, the Palestinians and the United Nations should consider stationing an international peacekeeping force in the Gaza Strip, the U.N.'s new special envoy to the Middle East said on Thursday.
Israel has long resisted Palestinian calls for peacekeepers in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. But Israel has signalled flexibility since last year's Lebanon war, which ended with a boosted UNIFIL peacekeeper force in former Hezbollah guerrillas strongholds.
"I'm not sure this (UNIFIL) is the right model for Gaza. But I think that this is one of the things that we, the U.N., and Israel and the Palestinians need to be thinking about for the future," Michael Williams, the newly appointed U.N. envoy, told Reuters in an interview.
"It goes without saying it would be a hard task to pull it (a Gaza peacekeeping force) together," said Williams, who helped put together last year's international force for southern Lebanon. "But I have no doubt that if we came to that juncture, we could get such an international force."