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White House Hosts Israelis, Arabs for Talks on Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

03-14-2018
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JERUSALEM, Israel – The deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip brought Israeli and Arab diplomats together Tuesday at the White House.

The lengthy meeting, hosted by Trump administration special representative Jason Greenblatt and senior advisor Jared Kushner, included representatives from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, along with their Israeli counterparts, seeking ways to help civilians in Gaza without empowering Hamas.

The Palestinian Authority boycotted the meeting.

According to Jerusalem Post correspondent Michael Wilner, it took weeks to plan the meeting.

"We all know that none of this will be easy," Wilner quoted Greenblatt as saying. "And, everything we do must be done in a way that ensures we do not put the security of Israelis and Egyptians at risk – and that we do not inadvertently empower Hamas, which bears responsibility for Gaza's suffering."

Greenblatt asked participants "to leave politics at the door" and focus on humanitarian needs for Gaza residents, such as clean water, food, security, health, education and employment.

"There are no excuses for inaction," he said, which not only contributes to the suffering but also creates security challenges for Israel and Egypt.

Greenblatt later thanked participants "for putting all tensions aside to work with us."

"Everyone left politics at the door and focused on practical solutions," he said.

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