humanitarian aid to Gaza
The U.S. is sending $47 million in humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip to help tens of thousands of Palestinians there who have been forced from their homes since war the broke out two weeks ago. A State Department breakdown of the aid said nearly a third of the money — $15 million — will go to the U.N.’s refugee mission in Gaza.
Obama calls on other nations
President Obama called for the international community to focus on ending the fighting in the Gaza Strip. Voicing fresh concern about civilian casualties, Obama reaffirmed his belief that Israel has the right to defend itself against rockets being launched by Hamas into Israel. Yet he contended that Israel’s military action in Gaza had already done “significant damage” to the Hamas terrorist infrastructure and said he doesn’t want to see more civilians getting killed.
“We have serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives,” Obama said.
U.S. issues travel warning
The U.S. government is suggesting that Americans avoid travel to Israel if possible. A travel warning posted on the State Department website essentially expanded a long-standing advisory urging U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the Israeli-occupied West Bank and a stronger warning against travel to Gaza
Abbas talks to Hamas leader
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met Monday with his political rival, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, in Qatar. According to aides traveling with Abbas, the Palestinian leader from Ramallah in the West Bank is looking for a cease-fire brokered by Egypt based on a return to the November 2012 agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.