Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. would work with its partners “to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance” to Gaza.
By United with Israel Staff and AP
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed Tuesday to “rally international support” to aid Gaza following a devastating war there while keeping any assistance out of the hands of its rulers, members of the Hamas terror group.
Hamas and Palestinian Jihad launched the 11-day war, murdering Israeli civilians, including a five-year-old boy, with indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli population centers.
The truce that came into effect Friday has so far held, but it did not address any of the underlying issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something Blinken acknowledged after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges. And that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild,” he said.
“The United States will work to rally international support around that effort while also making our own significant contributions.” He added that the U.S. would work with its partners “to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance.”
Blinken will not be meeting with Hamas, a genocidal Islamic terror group that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Blinken addressed the larger conflict, saying “we believe that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely, to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity and democracy, to be treated with dignity.”
Netanyahu warned of a “very powerful” response if Hamas breaks the cease-fire.
Netanyahu spoke of “building economic growth” in Judea and Samaria, but said there will be no peace until the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” The Palestinians have long objected to that language.
On Monday, an Arab terrorist stabbed two Israelis in Jerusalem. Police shot and killed the assailant.
Blinken will head to Ramallah later Tuesday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has no power in Gaza and was sidelined by recent events. Abbas heads the internationally backed Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of Judea and Samaria but whose forces were driven from Gaza when Hamas seized power there in a bloody coup in 2007.
Abbas, who called off the first Palestinian elections in 15 years last month when it appeared his fractured Fatah movement would suffer an embarrassing defeat, is seen by many Palestinians as having lost all legitimacy.
Blinken will also visit neighboring Egypt and Jordan, which have acted as mediators in the conflict. Egypt succeeded in brokering the Gaza truce.
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