US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Sunday for a renewed commitment to achieving Middle East peace, saying a lasting deal between Israel, the Palestinians and all their neighbors could be achieved.
"Out of this conference must come not just money but a renewed commitment from everybody to work for peace that meets the aspirations of all, for Israelis, for Palestinians for all people of this region. And I promise you the full commitment of president Obama, myself and the United States to try to do that," Kerry told a Gaza reconstruction conference in Cairo.
"Everything else will be a band aid fix, not a long-term solution... Everything else will be the prisoner of impatience and that has brought us to this unacceptable and unstable status quo."
The latest round of US-brokered peace talks foundered in April over Israeli objections to a Palestinian political unity pact including the Islamist Hamas movement and Palestinian objections to unremitting Israeli settlement growth.
Kerry also announced an additional $212 million in aid to the Palestinian people at the Cairo conference, saying, "The people of Gaza do need our help desperately, not tomorrow, not next week, but they need it now."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the international donors conference as well, saying that Gaza needs four billion dollars in aid to rehabilitate the coastal territory following 50 days of fighting between Hamas and Israel.
He said he believed the international community would rise to the occasion and provide much-needed funds for reconstruction, reiterating the need to adopt a resolution that imposes a time frame on Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank.
It is no longer acceptable to live in a state of repeated wars, Abbas said as he laid out the recent battles plaguing Gaza – three in six years – and the fallen victims (3,760) and demolished homes (80,000) that followed.
Thanking Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for his efforts to achieve an agreement and help promote the Palestinian cause, Abbas said the PA would continue to work closely with Egypt on reaching a lasting truce.
As for the situation in the West Bank, the PA chief said that Israel's continued settlement activity was harmful to the economy and prevented the Palestinians from developing large chunks of the West Bank.
"There must be an international approach" to ending the decades-old conflict, Abbas stated, which must include a Palestinian state.
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