Palestinian Authority boycotts White House meeting on Gaza crisis

By Middle East Affairs

The White House hosted 19 nations Tuesday to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but the Palestinian Authority chose to boycott the meeting, Reuters reports.

Among the attendants were Israel and Arab Gulf states.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced in December he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which angered Palestinians because they see the east side of the city as the capital of their future state.

The U.S. embassy will move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in May.

The United States is also putting the finishing touches on a peace plan for Israel and Palestine.

“Fixing Gaza is necessary to achieve a peace agreement,” one of the senior administration officials said at the meeting.

Representatives in attendance came from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as several European nations, Reuters reports.

The news agency said the discussion covered topics such as potential electricity, water, sewage, and health projects, but that officials declined to outline specific proposals.

“A senior administration insisted that many projects could be implemented without assistance of the Palestinian Authority,” Reuters said, “but the goal was to have it ultimately engage in the multi-lateral process.

Gaza residents blame Israel for an economic blockade that hindered the delivery of goods.

However they also complain of a power struggle between armed group Hamas and the secular party of Western-backed Palestinian President Abbas.

Reuters says Israel claims “it has been forced to control access to and from the territory to prevent Hamas from sending out gunmen and bombers, and from smuggling in weapons or material to make them.”

 

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