Just a few hours after a bomb attack in Gaza on the Palestinian Authority prime minister, the White House was hosting a conference on aiding the economically strung-out region.
The Palestinian Authority was not represented, keeping to its boycott of meetings with American officials following President Donald Trump’s December 9 recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital.
“We regret that the Palestinian Authority is not here with us today,” Greenblatt said in opening remarks. “This is not about politics. This is about the health, safety and happiness of the people of Gaza, and of all Palestinians, Israelis and Egyptians.
“As you know, we are here today to consider ideas on how to address the humanitarian challenges in Gaza — a topic that has long been at the forefront of all of our minds,” Greenblatt continued. “It has certainly been on mine.”
However, for the first time Israeli officials participated in a public conference with representatives from Arab states, after many months of behind-the-scenes contacts.
A senior White House official listed those who were in attendance:
Bahrain, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, the EU, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman, the Quartet, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the U.K. and the United Nations.
Speaking with the Voice of Palestine radio, PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani accused the U.S. of trying to undermine the Palestinian Authority and said there was no need for a meeting because Gaza “is a political issue and not a humanitarian one.”
This was said despite numerous warnings from leaders in the international community that a looming economic and social collapse in Gaza could trigger more violence.
Updated Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 2:50 pm