Israel-Gaza conflict: Blinken vows U.S. support to rebuild Gaza

Israel-Gaza conflict: Blinken vows U.S. support to rebuild Gaza
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Islam News – After meeting Israel’s prime minister, Antony Blinken said it was necessary to tackle the grave humanitarian situation to prevent a return to violence.

The Biden administration will ask Congress for $75m (£52m) in assistance for Palestinians.

The US would also reopen its consulate in Jerusalem, Mr Blinken said.

But he added that the US would ensure the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, did not benefit.

Mr Blinken also reiterated US support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

Mr Blinken said intense, behind-the-scenes diplomacy by US President Joe Biden had helped produce last week’s ceasefire, and that “now we believe we must build on it”.

He added: “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 US would rally international support around that effort while also making its own “significant contributions”, including some that would be announced later on Tuesday.

Mr Blinken visited Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday afternoon to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The United States will notify Congress of our intention to provide $75m in additional development and economic assistance to the Palestinians in 2021,” Mr Blinken said after the meeting.

He added that the US would also provide $5.5m in immediate disaster assistance for Gaza and $32m to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

The UN cited the Palestinian housing ministry as saying 258 buildings, comprising 1,042 housing and commercial units, were destroyed during the fighting. In addition, 769 housing units were severely damaged and 14,536 suffered minor damage.

Fifty-four education facilities, six hospitals and 11 primary healthcare facilities were also damaged, as was water, sanitation, and electric infrastructure, according to the UN.

Palestinian officials put reconstruction costs at tens of millions of dollars.

The Israeli government has not yet published its estimate for the damages, but many buildings and vehicles were damaged by rocket-fire.

Source : BBC

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