At a press conference in Jerusalem, Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the US-led efforts to rehabilitate Gaza aim to weaken the Hamas terrorist group that controls the enclave.
“If we do this right… far from empowering Hamas, it has the potential to undermine it,” he says.
“Hamas thrives, unfortunately, on despair, on misery, on desperation, on a lack of opportunity,” he says.
“What reconstruction and relief need to do is not just answer the immediate needs — and those needs are significant and they’re urgent, whether it’s water, whether it’s sanitation, whether it’s electricity — but they need to offer a genuine prospect for opportunity, for progress, for material improvement in peoples’ lives,” he says.
The US’s goal is to give the Palestinians, “including those in Gaza, a renewed sense of progress, of optimism, of real opportunity,” says Blinken.
If all partners in the region engage in the process, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority, “Hamas’ foothold in Gaza will slip. We know that. And I think that Hamas knows that.”