Reconstructing Gaza: U.S. Announces Additional Humanitarian Assistance for Palestinians

Earlier today, Secretary of State John Kerry announced $414 million in U.S. assistance to the Palestinians.  In his remarks, Secretary Kerry said, “…This money will, we hope, help promote security and stability, and economic development, and it will provide for immediate distribution of food, medicine, and shelter materials for hundreds of thousands for the coming winter. And it is money that is going to help reconstruct Gaza’s damaged water and sanitation system, so that Palestinians in Gaza will have access to water that they can drink and homes that they can actually start rebuilding.” Read more here.

Each side has powerful feelings about the history and why they are where they are. And what we’re going to work at is how do…we have an ability to provide security for Israel and a future for the Palestinians.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Paris, France, July 26, 2014

Secretary Kerry is currently on travel to Cairo, Jerusalem, and Ramallah to meet with Egyptian, Israeli, Palestinian, and other senior officials about a cease-fire in fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. See more pictures from his travel on Flickr.

#SecKerry arrived in Tel Aviv today for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders about a cease-fire in fighting with Hamas in the #Gaza Strip.

#SecKerry arrived in Tel Aviv today for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders about a cease-fire in fighting with Hamas in the #Gaza Strip.

In Cairo, Secretary Kerry addresses reporters and meets with Egyptian President al-Sisi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry to discuss Gaza Ceasefire. 

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton comments on ceasefire in Gaza during her remarks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr in Cairo, Egypt on November 21, 2012. A text transcript can be found at

Readout of the President’s Call to Prime Minister Netanyahu

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
November 21, 2012

President Obama spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu today and reiterated his commitment to Israel’s security.
The President made clear that no country can be expected to tolerate rocket attacks against civilians.
The President expressed his appreciation for the Prime Minister’s efforts to work with the new Egyptian government to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and a more durable solution to this problem.
The President commended the Prime Minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal – which the President recommended the Prime Minster do – while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself.
The President said that the United States would use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.
The President said that he was committed to seeking additional funding for Iron Dome and other US-Israel missile defense programs.
Readout of the President’s call with President Morsi

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
November 21, 2012

President Obama spoke to President Morsi today. The President thanked President Morsi for his efforts to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and for his personal leadership in negotiating a ceasefire proposal.  President Morsi expressed appreciation for President Obama’s efforts in this regard. 

President Obama and President Morsi agreed on the importance of working toward a more durable solution to the situation in Gaza.

President Obama reaffirmed the close partnership between the United States and Egypt, and welcomed President Morsi’s commitment to regional security.  

United States Contributes to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

The United States is pleased to announce an initial 2012 contribution of $55 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The $55 million contribution will provide critical health, education, and humanitarian services to five million Palestinian refugees in the region. Of this contribution, $29 million will support UNRWA’s core services in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza; $24 million will support UNRWA’s emergency programs in the West Bank and Gaza; and two million will support UNRWA’s ongoing relief assistance in Lebanon for those displaced during the 2007 conflict in Nahr al Bared refugee camp.

As UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, the United States recognizes the critical role the Agency plays in assisting Palestinian refugees and maintaining regional stability and calls upon other donors to enhance their support for UNRWA. The United States encourages UNRWA to maintain the neutrality of its operations, expand its donor base, enhance its strategic communications, and maximize programmatic efficiencies in order to better serve refugees.

In 2011, the United States provided just under $250 million to UNRWA, including $146 million to its General Fund, $75 million to its West Bank/Gaza emergency programs, $15 million to emergency programs in Lebanon, and $10 million for the construction of five new schools in Gaza, which will serve an estimated 10,000 schoolchildren.

Quartet Statement on the Situation in Gaza

Media Note Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC
July 2, 2011

The following is the text of a statement released by the Middle East Quartet (United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia) in New York on July 2, 2011:

Begin Text:

The Quartet remains concerned about the unsustainable conditions facing the civilian population in Gaza but notes that efforts have improved conditions over the last year, including a marked increase in the range and scope of goods and materials moving into Gaza, an increase in international project activity, and the facilitation of some exports. In that regard, the Quartet commends the recent approval by Israel of materials for new homes and schools to be constructed by UNRWA, but notes that considerably more needs to be done to increase the flow of people and goods to and from Gaza, including a liberalization of the market in aggregate, steel bar and cement. Members of the Quartet continue to urge full implementation of Israel’s June 2010 policy decision and further meaningful steps to improve the situation in Gaza consistent with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009).

They will work, including through UN and Quartet Representative Tony Blair, with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, donors and the international community to ensure that the needs of the people of Gaza are being met.

The Quartet recognizes that Israel has legitimate security concerns that must continue to be safeguarded. Members of the Quartet are committed to working with Israel, Egypt and the international community to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza and believe efforts to maintain security while enabling movement and access for Palestinian people and goods are critical. In this context, the Quartet strongly urges all those wishing to deliver goods to the people of Gaza to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via established land crossings. The Quartet regrets the injury and deaths caused by the 2010 flotilla, urges restraint and calls on all Governments concerned to use their influence to discourage additional flotillas, which risk the safety of their participants and carry the potential for escalation.

The Quartet also calls for an end to the deplorable five-year detention of Gilad Shalit.