Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday pledged nearly $40 million in additional aid for the Palestinians during his tour of Gaza this week.
Meeting earlier in the day with Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Blinken announced the administration will notify Congress of its intention to provide $75 million in additional development and economic aid. In addition, it will fund disaster assistance in Gaza to the tune of $5.5 million, and an additional $32 million to the controversial U.N. Palestinian refugee agency’s (UNRWA) emergency humanitarian appeal.
- The truce that ended the Gaza war on Friday has so far held, but it did not address any of the deeper issues plaguing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- Blinken repeatedly affirmed what he said was Israel’s right to defend itself, adding that the U.S. would assist Israel in replenishing its Iron Dome rocket-interception system.
“This new assistance comes on top of significant support the United States has recently committed and resumed to the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians, to different agencies and groups,” Blinken said. “In total, we are in the process of providing more than $360 million in urgent support for the Palestinian people.”
However, he emphasized that rebuilding Gaza makes sense only “if there is confidence that what is rebuilt is not lost again because Hamas decides to launch more rocket attacks in the future.”
Blinken also said the U.S. would reopen its consulate general in Jerusalem, which had been downgraded by the Trump administration.
He stated that Palestinians deserve “equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity, and dignity” as Israelis.
“As I told the president, I’m here to underscore the commitment of the United States to rebuilding the relationship with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people, a relationship built on mutual respect and also a shared conviction that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of security, freedom opportunity and dignity,” he said following a meeting with Abbas in the West Bank.
On Wednesday, Blinken heads to neighboring Egypt and Jordan,
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