At a recent conference, international donors pledged nearly five and a half billion dollars in support of the Palestinian people and the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, which suffered tremendous destruction during the seven weeks of fighting between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged 212 million dollars in assistance to the Palestinian people, bringing U.S. aid to the Palestinians to more than 400 million dollars.
But as Secretary Kerry pointed out, this is just the beginning, and so much more needs to be done. Gaza needs a strong government that will deliver services to its people, and long term economic investment that will help build a thriving economy. But most of all, Gaza needs fundamental changes to an unsustainable status quo.
“The underlying causes of discontent and suspicion and anger that exist in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza can only be eliminated by resolving the conflict itself,” said Secretary Kerry. “There is no way to fully satisfy the parties’ various demands, no way to bring the full measure of recovery to Gaza, without a long-term prospect for peace that builds confidence about the future.”
And that is why the two-state solution is more compelling now than it has ever been. Thus, “the United States remains fully, totally committed to returning to the negotiations not for the sake of it, but because the goal of this conference and the future of this region demand it,” said Secretary Kerry.
“The United States will continue to work with our partners to find a way forward. We are convinced that the needs of both parties on even the most critical issues can be met, and that with common sense, goodwill, and courage we can not only address the long-term needs of Gaza, but we can actually achieve a lasting peace between Israel, the Palestinians, and all their neighbors,” he said.
“We have been clear from day one about the difficulty of the challenge ahead, and we knew there would be tough times. But in the end, we all want the same things: security for the Israelis; freedom, dignity, and a state for the Palestinians; peace and prosperity for both peoples.”