Blinken announces U.S. aid to Gaza and promises to reopen Jerusalem Consulate

Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised on Tuesday’s Middle East mission that Washington would provide new assistance to help rebuild Gaza as part of an effort to strengthen the ceasefire between Hamas terrorist groups and Israel. ..

Blinken said the United States would proceed with the process of reopening the Jerusalem Consulate, which was functioning as a diplomatic route to Palestinians, hoping to overturn the move of former President Donald Trump, who offended Palestinians.

Brinken, who spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the city of Ramara on the west bank of the Jordan River, said the United States would provide Palestinians with $ 75 million in development and financial assistance in 2021 and $ 5.5 million in emergency relief in Gaza. , The United Nations Palestinian Aid Agency based there.

“We know that we need to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying problems and challenges to prevent a return to violence,” he said. It was. “And it begins with tackling the serious humanitarian situation in Gaza and initiating reconstruction.”

Blinken reiterated that Hamas, which Washington considers a terrorist organization, is intended to prevent it from benefiting from humanitarian aid.

He said that if aid is distributed correctly, the group “prospers in despair, misery, despair, lack of opportunity” and can actually undermine Hamas.

At a press conference later that day, Blinken was also at risk of inciting tensions, or eventually actions by Israeli or Palestinians to undermine the two-state solution he said the Biden administration was still committed to. Warned against.

Such actions include Israeli settlement in the territory where Palestinians seek a nation, the possibility of Israeli expulsion of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, and incitement to extreme violence on the Palestinian side. He said.

The ceasefire, mediated by Egypt and coordinated with the United States, began on Friday, 11 days after the worst battle of years between the Palestinian militants and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will shake hands at a joint news conference in Jerusalem on May 25, 2021. (Pool via Menahem Kahana / Reuters)

Hundreds of Israeli airstrikes killed at least 254 people, injured more than 1,900, and destroyed or damaged buildings across small coastal excursions, according to Palestinian medical personnel.

The Israeli army killed 13 people in Israel, injuring hundreds of people in rocket fires by other Palestinian militants in Hamas and Gaza, causing panic and rushing people to shelters to Tel Aviv.

Brinkin meets Israeli and Palestinian leaders

Blinken began a regional visit in Jerusalem and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli leaders threatened a “very strong response” by speaking to reporters with top US diplomats on their side when Hamas resumed a cross-border rocket attack.

Blinken will stay in the area until Thursday and will also travel to Egypt and Jordan.

In parallel with his visit, Israel allowed fuel, medicines, and food assigned to Gaza’s private sector to enter the territory for the first time since the outbreak of hostilities on May 10.

Blinken said reopening the US Consulate General in Jerusalem would be “an important way for our country to engage and provide support to the Palestinian people.” He refused to provide a timeline for resumption.

The Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and merged the consulate with the US embassy in Israel in 2019, two years after moving the embassy from Tel Aviv.

These moves were broken by long-standing US policy and furious Palestinians seeking East Jerusalem as the capital of the future state.

Israel considers all of Jerusalem, including the eastern part occupied by the 1967 Middle East War, to be an undivided capital.

Biden has no plans to cancel the relocation of the embassy, ​​but acted to restore relations with Palestinians early in his presidency. In April, Biden recovered hundreds of millions of dollars with Palestinian aid cut by Trump.

Abbaslaus Biden Administration Stance

Talking to Blinken, Abbas thanked the Biden administration for “a commitment to maintain (and maintain) the status quo of Haram al-Sharif” (a compound of Jerusalem that is sacred to Muslims and Jews, including Al). -Aqsa Mosque.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on May 25, 2021 in the city of Ramallah on the west bank of the Jordan River. (Pool via Majidi Mohammed / Reuters)

Abbas also supported the United States “… for the protection of (Palestinian) residents of Sheikhjara” in the East Jerusalem district, where the potential expulsion of Palestinian families sparked the battle between Israel and Gaza. I thanked him for what he called.

Palestinian residents of Sheikhjara live in land purchased by two Jewish communities in 1876 during the Ottoman Empire, and have faced the possibility of eviction of peasants for about 30 years. There is a legal battle between Palestinian residents and a company called Naharat Simon, who owns property rights.

Israel is politically fluid after four uncertain elections in two years, and Palestinians are separated by hostility between Hamas and Abbas.

“Starting by truly improving the lives of people in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, both leaders will need to take a better direction,” Blinken said.

In Gaza, Palestinian authorities estimate reconstruction costs at tens of millions of dollars. Israel has blocked its territory since 2007. Egypt also has restrictions on its border with Gaza. Both countries cite security concerns about the measures.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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