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Friday, 18 June 2021

In Mideast, Blinken pledges millions to Gaza

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In Mideast, Blinken pledges millions to Gaza
In Mideast, Blinken pledges millions to Gaza

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said the United States would provide an additional $75 million in development and economic aid to the Palestinians in 2021, $5.5 million in immediate disaster relief for Gaza and $32 million to the U.N.

Palestinian aid agency based there.

Gavino Garay reports.

"I informed President Abbas and earlier Prime Minister Netanyahu, the United States will notify congress of our intention to provide $75 million in additional development and economic assistance for the Palestinians in 2021." Speaking alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged that Washington would provide new aid to help rebuild Gaza as part of efforts to bolster a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

"I say this as a father.

No child whether Israeli, Palestinian or American is a statistic.

We know the human consequences when violence takes the upper hand and we are determined that that will not be the case." Blinken reiterated that Washington intended to ensure that Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist organization, did not benefit from the humanitarian aid - a potentially difficult task.

Blinken began his visit to the region in Jerusalem, where he held talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned Hamas against any resumption of hostilities: "If Hamas breaks the calm and attacks Israel, our response will be very powerful.

And we have discussed ways of how to work together to prevent Hamas rearmament with weapons and means of aggression." Hoping to reverse a move taken by former President Donald Trump that angered Palestinians, Blinken said the United States would advance the process of reopening its Jerusalem consulate that had served as its diplomatic channel to the Palestinians.

Blinken's visit to the region comes after a Cairo-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas last Friday after days of deadly violence..

That recalled their last major conflict in 2014.

Hundreds of Israeli air strikes killed at least 254 people in Gaza and injured over 1,900, Palestinian medics said.

The Israeli military put Israel's death toll at 13.

During his tour, Blinken will next head to Cairo and Jordan.

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