LIVE UPDATES: Blinken pledges nearly $ 40 million in additional aid to Palestinians on Gaza tour

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday pledged nearly $ 40 million in additional aid for Palestinians during his visit to Gaza this week.

Meeting earlier today with Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Blinken announced that the administration will notify Congress of its intention to provide $ 75 million in additional development and economic aid. In addition, it will fund disaster assistance in Gaza to the tune of $ 5.5 million, and an additional $ 32 million for UNRWA’s controversial emergency humanitarian appeal.

QUICK FACTS

    • The truce that ended the Gaza war on Friday has held so far, but it has failed to address any of the deeper issues plaguing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    • Blinken has repeatedly asserted what he said was Israel’s right to defend itself, adding that the United States would help Israel rebuild its Iron Dome rocket interception system.

“This new assistance is in addition to the significant support that the United States has recently pledged and resumed to the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians, various agencies and groups,” Blinken said. “In total, we are providing over $ 360 million in urgent support to the Palestinian people.”

However, he stressed that rebuilding Gaza only makes sense “if there is confidence that what is being rebuilt is not lost again because Hamas decides to launch more rocket attacks in the future”.

Blinken also said the United States would reopen its consulate general in Jerusalem, which had been downgraded by the Trump administration.

He said Palestinians deserve “equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity and dignity” as Israelis.

“As I told the President, I am here to underscore the United States’ commitment to rebuilding relations with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people, a relationship based on mutual respect and also a shared belief that the Palestinians and Israelis deserve equality, measures of security, freedom and dignity, ”he said after a meeting with Abbas in the West Bank.

On Wednesday, Blinken will travel to neighboring Egypt and Jordan,

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