July 25, 2021

The United States wants to reopen its consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem

The United States wants “Rebuild” their relationship with the Palestinians, severed under the administration of Donald Trump. This announcement, Tuesday, May 25, by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, should result in a project to reopen their consulate in Jerusalem – which was in charge of Palestinian affairs and whose closure was declared in October 2018 by the administration, despite international disapproval – and the release of emergency aid for Gaza.

It remains ” a lot of work “ for “Restore confidence” between Israelis and Palestinians, said the US foreign minister, on the first day of a Middle East tour aimed at consolidating the truce between Hamas and Israel, which began five days ago after eleven days of bloody clashes. “We have seen where the other options lead. This should prompt us to redouble our efforts to preserve peace ”, he added in Jerusalem, after a meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Blinken also said on Tuesday evening US support for a “two-state” solution for the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He called on both sides to create a “Better environment” to achieve this : “Finally, it is possible to resume efforts to achieve a two-state solution, which we continue to see as the only way to secure the future of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and of course to give to the Palestinians the State to which they are entitled. “ The Secretary of State did not go into details, however, as to the role that the United States, traditional mediators of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, could play in this perspective.

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American Contribution for Gaza

The United States is working to ensure that Hamas, the Islamist movement in power in the Gaza Strip, does not “Benefits” no aid for the reconstruction of the Palestinian enclave, also assured the US Secretary of State. This last announced its intention to ask the US Congress to release $ 75 million (around 61 million euros) for the Palestinians. Mr. Blinken wishes, in addition to this aid intended for economic development, to allocate 5.5 million dollars (4.4 million euros) of urgent aid to the Gaza Strip, devastated by eleven days of war, and 32 million dollars (26 million euros) to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

Israel, which has imposed a land and sea blockade on Gaza for nearly fifteen years, accuses Hamas of having diverted international aid for military purposes and has said it wishes a “Mechanism” international to bypass it in sending aid.

The country has announced the daily reopening, from Tuesday, of the Kerem Shalom terminal, which had hitherto been open on an ad hoc basis, for humanitarian aid. Patients will also be able to enter and leave Gaza for the first time since May 10. In addition, the fishing zone off the enclave will be extended to six nautical miles (approximately 11 kilometers).

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“If Hamas breaks the calm and attacks Israel, our response will be very powerful”, for his part threatened Benyamin Netanyahu, during a joint press briefing with Mr. Blinken, who reiterated his “Full support for Israel’s right to self-defense”.

Strengthening the Palestinian Authority

Earlier in the afternoon, Mr. Blinken was in Ramallah, in the West Bank occupied by Israel since 1967, where he began talks with the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who however does not exercise power in Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz previously told US Secretary of State of his willingness to help rebuild Gaza “By strengthening the Palestinian Authority, while weakening the military capacities of terrorist organizations”, in reference to Hamas.

Despite intense diplomatic efforts, tensions persist on the ground. A Palestinian was killed at dawn on Tuesday in the Al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, Israeli and Palestinian security sources reported.

On Monday, a knife attack injured two people, including an Israeli soldier, in Jerusalem. The assailant, a 17-year-old Palestinian, according to the official Palestinian agency, was shot dead by Israeli security forces.

From May 10 to 21, 253 Palestinians were killed by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, including 66 children and fighters, according to local authorities. In the West Bank, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces have left more than 25 Palestinians dead, including four teenagers, according to Palestinian health authorities. In Israel, rocket fire from Gaza killed 12 people, including a child, a teenage girl and a soldier, police said.

The World with AFP