With recent events shining an international spotlight on the situation in Gaza, the Middle East Quartet (United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia), released a statement noting that efforts “have improved conditions over the last year, including a marked increase in the range and scope of goods and materials moving into Gaza, an increase in international project activity, and the facilitation of some exports.” Last week alone, 1,236 truckloads totaling over 29,556 tons of goods were unloaded at the land crossings into the Gaza Strip and transferred to Palestinian and international organizations for distribution. This is in addition to Egypt’s reopening of the Rafah border crossing.  The Quartet commended “the recent approval by Israel of materials for new homes and schools to be constructed by UNRWA.”

The statement continued saying:

“The Quartet recognizes that Israel has legitimate security concerns that must continue to be safeguarded. Members of the Quartet are committed to working with Israel, Egypt and the international community to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza and believe efforts to maintain security while enabling movement and access for Palestinian people and goods are critical. In this context, the Quartet strongly urges all those wishing to deliver goods to the people of Gaza to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via established land crossings. The Quartet regrets the injury and deaths caused by the 2010 flotilla, urges restraint and calls on all Governments concerned to use their influence to discourage additional flotillas, which risk the safety of their participants and carry the potential for escalation.”

The Quartet also called for an end to “the deplorable five-year detention of Gilad Shalit.”

Read the full statement here.