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Obama, Clinton and Mitchell Urge Israel to Ease Restrictions On Gaza

June 22, 2009

Hillary+Clinton+Meets+Israeli+Palestinian+0bkduQDmxP9lThe humanitarian crisis in Gaza threatens to undermine any real chance of peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians and while the administration continues to be sensitive to Israel’s security concerns, the total lack of infrastructure paired with the inability of the Palestinians to get access to necessary medical supplies, food and building material, serves only to increase the resentment, economic dependence and hopelessness which often creates fertile ground for extremist recruitment.

from Ha’aretz:

The United States has stepped up pressure on Israel regarding the Gaza Strip: Three weeks ago it sent Jerusalem a diplomatic note officially protesting Gaza policy and demanding a more liberal opening of the border crossings to facilitate reconstruction.


The note was delivered to Israel after a decision by senior U.S. officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and special Mideast envoy George Mitchell. The latter discussed the contents of the note during his visit to Israel last week.

U.S. demands on Israel’s Gaza policy were also raised Wednesday during talks between Clinton and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is on an official visit to Washington.

The note focused on a number of issues that have troubled the U.S. administration regarding Israeli policy toward the Gaza Strip.


he first task is to allow food and medicine into the territory. A senior political source in Jerusalem said the Americans have noticed some improvement here, but there has been no consistency or transparency on the types of foods permitted in.

Another issue is the transfer of cash to banks in the Strip. U.S. officials have asked that Israel continue to allow the transfer of funds from Ramallah-based banks to Gaza banks to avoid damaging the enclave’s banking and financial system.

A third issue in the note was the expansion of the system for opening the border crossings, and permission to import a variety of goods that would enable imports and exports and encourage economic growth.

The note also focused on construction materials such as cement and iron, which would be used to rebuild the damage caused by Israel’s three-week Gaza offensive last winter.

The U.S. administration emphasized that in parallel with its demands of Israel, it was willing to assist in establishing an international supervisory mechanism under UN auspices to ensure that the building materials were used for civilian purposes and not Hamas’ fortifications.[emphasis added]


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