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March 12, 2018 12:23 pm

Palestinian Authority to Boycott White House Conference on Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Strip

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A Palestinian man stands in a house in the northern Gaza Strip on February 12, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Mohammed Salem. – The Palestinian Authority has announced its intention to boycott an upcoming conference at the White House to discuss the worsening humanitarian situation in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Approximately 2 million Arabs live in the densely populated area to the south of Israel’s Mediterranean coastline.

While not recognized as an independent state, Gaza is cut off both from Israel and neighboring Egypt. Gazans receive funding from the Palestinian Authority, which does not control the Strip. Several countries provide Gaza with relief aid, yet Hamas often diverts the funds to build terror infrastructure to attack Israel, including rockets and tunnels.

In recent months, the PA has withheld funding for electricity in Gaza. Hamas, in turn, has refused to use electricity to operate Gaza’s waste-treatment facility. Yet the PA has laid blame for the crisis on Israel.

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“The United States knows very well that the cause of the tragedy of the Gaza Strip is the unjust Israeli siege, and what is needed is political treatment of this issue,” said Ahmad Majdalani, an adviser to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s executive committee member, on Voice of Palestine radio.

Majdalani accused the US of using the conference to “liquidate the Palestinian national project,” adding that America has no real concern for the residents of Gaza.

The PA has refused to engage the US administration since President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December. Trump has threatened cutting off of US funding if the Palestinians refuse to enter into a new round of peace negotiations with Israel.

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