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April 19, 2015

Aid Agencies Plot New Gaza Course While Politicians Talk Negotiations

US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Samantha Power testified on Wednesday that, “The United States believes that a two-state solution is vital to ensuring the preservation of a Jewish and democratic Israel, and we will continue to work to achieve that goal,” before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. 

When questioned by subcommittee members about statements from White House officials suggesting that the US is reevaluating its position regarding Israel in the UN, Power would not rule out US support of UN resolutions regarding Israel-Palestine but also said, “We will look to see what will advance Israel’s security and what will advance peace in the region” and “our objective as an administration is what can we do to defuse tensions, what will it take to get those negotiations back on track.”

Power’s emphasis on negotiations echoes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ words to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting near Moscow two days earlier. Abbas told Putin, “We [Palestinians] should do our best to achieve peace only through negotiations.”

While politicians discussed the importance of peace negotiations this week, the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) released a report signed by 45 aid groups urging the international community to take a new course of action in Gaza addressing root causes of the recurring conflict. According to the report, “there has been no progress towards a lasting ceasefire agreement and reconstruction efforts have been far too slow to meet needs. There has been no action towards ending the illegal blockade or opening Gaza to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. If we do not change course now to address these core issues the situation in Gaza will only continue to worsen. Without economic, social and political stability, a return to conflict – and the cycles of damage and donor-funded reconstruction that accompany it – is inevitable.” More than six months after last summer’s war in Gaza only 26.8 percent of the money pledged by donors has been released and over 100,000 individuals remain internally displaced.

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