That announcement was made today by the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, as he briefed the Security Council on the situation in the region.“UNSCO (the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process) has brokered a trilateral agreement between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the UN to enable work at the scale required in the Strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a lead role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort, while providing security assurances through UN monitoring that these materials will not be diverted from their entirely civilian purpose,” he said.Further, “the UN stands ready to provide increased technical assistance to the Government of National Consensus in Gaza.”He told reporters at a media encounter after the Security Council meeting that the new temporary reconstruction mechanism “in my view, is an important step, which I hope will give hope to the people in Gaza, and an important step, we hope, towards full lifting of remaining closures in Gaza.”In his briefing Mr. Serry said that the ceasefire brokered by Egypt has largely held since 26 August but remains “worryingly fragile.”He described the levels of destruction to infrastructure, hospitals and schools in Gaza as “shocking” and that said the devastation unleashed by this most recent round of conflict has left civilians on both sides feeling, once again, “battered and embittered.”Mr. Serry urged all concerned parties to “act now to set a wiser and more responsible course” out of the current dangerous impasse by solidifying the calm, addressing urgent humanitarian issues, opening up Gaza for reconstruction and recovery and empowering the Palestinian Government of National Consensus.He also stressed the need for action on the West Bank: “Maintaining the status quo in the West Bank while addressing Gaza anew would send entirely the wrong signal”, he said. “I am pleased that Israel has confirmed that an additional 5,000 West Bank Palestinians will receive work permits in Israel.”“Positive Israeli actions on a range of issues – such as empowering and enabling Palestinian planning and construction in Area C, to say nothing of ceasing Israeli settlement activity – would send a powerful message,” he added. Mr. Serry noted that it would not be easy to revive a political process, but stressed that fresh thinking is urgently needed to break out of current dynamics and preserve the possibility of the two-State solution.
A ban from world football’s ruling body on international players wearing poppies has been condemned as “utterly outrageous” by Theresa May.The Prime Minister sharply criticised the Fifa edict as she defended players’ rights to wear the remembrance symbols on shirts or armbands when England meet Scotland at Wembley on Armistice Day.Fifa has turned down a request to wear poppies, ruling that teams may not display political, religious or commercial symbols on their kit. Fifa has said players cannot wear poppies because they are forbidden from displaying political symbolsCredit:Hannah McKay/PA In a direct message to world football’s governing body, which has been plagued by corruption allegations, she said: “Before they start telling us what to do, they jolly well ought to sort their own house out.”Damian Collins, chairman of the Commons Sports Committee said Fifa’s decision was an insult to British people.He said: “Someone has shared with me on social media an Ireland football shirt that has a special embroidery on marking the centenary of the Easter Rising. Fifa allow that, so I think people will find it astonishing that the poppy’s not allowed.”John Whittingdale, a former culture, media, and sport secretary, suggested the two home nations should defy Fifa and risk a potential points deduction.He told the BBC: “For [Fifa] to try and brand the poppy as a political symbol shows a total misunderstanding, and I think there are a number of reasons why we are already profoundly unhappy with Fifa’s behaviour and conduct and this adds to that list.”Asked if the teams should risk a points loss, Mr Whittingdale replied: “Yes.”A motion has been lodged at the Scottish Parliament calling for the ban to be scrapped.Maurice Golden, a Conservative MSP, said: “Fifa should overturn this bizarre decision immediately. The fans, players and football associations on both sides of the border want to be able to wear the poppy with pride.”In 2011, Fifa eventually backed down after threatening to ban the England team from wearing poppies in a friendly against Spain, allowing them to display the symbol on black armbands. Mrs May told MPs during Prime Minister’s questions: “I think the stance that has been taken by Fifa is utterly outrageous.”Our football players want to recognise and respect those who have given their lives for our safety and security. I think it is absolutely right that they should be able to do so.”She said it was a matter for the English and Scottish Football Associations, but there was a “clear message” from the House of Commons that “we want our players to be able to wear those poppies”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.