After a rough couple of weeks in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians, President Obama promises Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas $400 million in aid after their meeting this week.
The two heads of state met in Washington a week after an Israeli military operation involving a flotilla caused an international incident in which militant activists and aid workers tried to break a blockade of the Gaza Strip. The event left nine people dead including an American on a Turkish-flagged ship.
According to Israel the blockade was needed to keep weapons out of the hands of Gaza's Hamas rulers. However, critics claim it has blocked contact with the outside world causing unnecessary stress for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians.
The additional aid came after President Obama called the situation in Gaza “unsustainable” and hoped the $400 million increase would improve living conditions for Palestinians living in the Strip and West Bank.
“I think increasingly you're seeing debates within Israel recognizing the problems with the status quo,” Obama said. “So President Abbas and I had very extensive discussions about how we could help to promote a better approach to Gaza.”
Israelis live under constant threat from the terrorist organization Hamas and Iran who would like to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
The American government currently gives Palestinians approximately $500 million per year and the money passes through nongovernment organizations ensuring Hamas doesn’t get any of the aid money.
The Palestinian President came to the White House to shore up a U.S.-brokered proximately talk with the Israeli government.
The president said he hoped both sides would recognize each others' advances. For the Israelis, Obama said success means “curbing settlement activity and recognizing some of the progress that has been made by the Palestinian Authority when it comes to issues like security. It means on the Palestinian side, and I was very frank with President Abbas that we have to continue to make more progress on both security as well as incitement issues.”
Abbas went on to claim the Palestinians had “nothing to do with incitement against Israel.”
President Obama plans to have Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House by end of the month to wrap up the peace talk details between the two countries.
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