Jerusalem (AP) – Following the ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, the US has pledged to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.
The United States would make a “significant contribution” and seek international support, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. He stressed that not only is it necessary to improve the humanitarian situation, but also that Hamas, which ruled the Gaza Strip, was not benefiting from the aid.
Stabilize the truce
Blinken wanted to meet Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah that afternoon. He will be in the region until Thursday. His agenda also includes talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah II, aiming to consolidate the ceasefire that has been in effect between Israel and the Muslim since Friday. Hamas. The second largest Palestinian group is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and the EU.
It is Blinken’s first visit to the Middle East as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The US administration, led by President Joe Biden, in office since January, has so far focused its foreign policy on issues other than the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. For example, the position of ambassador to Israel has been vacant since January.
It also took Biden unusually long with several weeks before he first spoke to Netanyahu. The possible recovery of the Iran nuclear deal, which the Washington government is campaigning for, also creates tensions between Israel and the US. Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had taken a very Israel-friendly course weighing on US relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA), which ruled the West Bank. Abbas – politician of the largest Palestinian organization Fatah – leads the PA.
The 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated after clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif) in Jerusalem and in the Arab east of the city. Hamas had issued an ultimatum calling on Israel to withdraw security forces from the Temple Mount, among other things. When Israel disobeyed, Palestinian militants fired rockets at Jerusalem on May 10. In the course of the conflict there were more than 4,360 in total. Israel responded with massive attacks in the coastal area.
Blinken stressed that tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem also needed to be reduced. Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in safety. He advocated renewed relations with the PA.
Aid can promote terror
Israel’s attacks in the Gaza Strip targeted the military infrastructure of militant Palestinians, but also caused extensive damage to residential buildings, tall buildings and other public buildings. The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip is therefore central to international efforts. However, Israel is concerned that the transport of aid and supplies to the coastal area could be misused to rearm Hamas, as it did after the 2014 Gaza war. organization. Metal pipes were used to build missiles. According to media reports, a plan foresees that reconstruction efforts will now increasingly run through the PA and keep Hamas out. This would reduce the risk of abuse and also strengthen the PA against Hamas.
According to reports, Defense Secretary Benny Gantz is linking a complete reconstruction of the Gaza Strip to the transfer of two bodies of soldiers detained since the 2014 Gaza war and the release of two Israeli prisoners. Israel and Hamas had repeatedly negotiated an exchange through negotiators. In return, Hamas has always demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.
According to Palestinian figures, 253 people died in the most recent conflict in the Gaza Strip and according to Israeli figures 13 in Israel.