“The US president has said his nation is set to unveil a $400m aid package for the Palestinians, as he called the situation in the Gaza Strip “unsustainable.” Barack Obama made his pledge on Wednesday after meeting Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, at the White House.
WASHINGTON — President Obama urged the Israeli government to loosen its blockade of Gaza on Wednesday, as the United States continued to scramble to find a way out of the stalemate in the Middle East and address the outcry over Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last week.
Mr. Obama, meeting with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, at the White House, also promised a $400 million aid package for the West Bank and Gaza, though only about $70 million represented a new commitment. White House officials said the money would be spent on housing, schools, efforts to provide access to drinking water and other health and infrastructure projects.
The details of how the aid would be used in Gaza remained unclear. Nor was it immediately clear how Mr. Abbas, who has authority in the West Bank but not in Gaza, would be able to administer it.
Gaza has faced an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since 2007. An Israeli raid that thwarted a Turkish-led flotilla carrying aid and activists toward Gaza last week intensified international protests over the blockade, which Mr. Obama has called “unsustainable.”