J Street statement on US aid for Gaza reconstruction

February 24, 2009

Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street Executive Director, released the following statement:

J Street is encouraged by reports that the Administration will pledge $900 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza reconstruction to ease the ever deepening humanitarian crisis and to enable the civilian population to rebuild in the wake of recent Israeli military operations.

This aid is critical to urgently addressing the widening humanitarian crisis in Gaza and for creating a situation in which a sustainable ceasefire can take hold. It is, however, only a first step. In order to leverage the aid’s impact, we must address the underlying causes of the humanitarian crisis in order to achieve a broader ceasefire. This means opening border crossings for all materials necessary for reconstruction, as well as bringing an end to arms smuggling and rocket attacks on Israel.

J Street hopes that Congress will quickly approve these funds, as the situation on the ground remains bleak.

We also commend the leadership of Senator John Kerry and Representatives Keith Ellison and Brian Baird in visiting to Gaza and southern Israel last week. Bold leadership, such as that demonstrated by the Administration’s proposed aid package and the lawmakers’ visits, is critical in promoting the security of Israel and the interests of the United States.