Since unilateral ceasefires in January by Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the 1.5 million Palestinians living there have suffered from severe shortages—including basic medicines, food and building materials—after combat destroyed many homes and key infrastructure. The Obama administration is now engaged in quiet diplomatic efforts to ease the restrictions on border crossings in order to advance reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip. But far too little has been done, and reconstruction efforts remain stymied.
The United States should work directly and openly with Israeli officials to establish a clear list and transparent criteria and rationale for allowing the import of food, medicines, and reconstruction material. In addition, the Obama administration should review regulations and procedures to ensure it is striking the right balance between facilitating the timely and efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance and guaranteeing that U.S. taxpayer assistance does not benefit groups designated as foreign terrorist organizations.
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