President Barack Obama met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday. The meeting came nine days after Israeli commandos killed nine activists aboard a humanitarian boat bound for Gaza. Obama urged the Israeli government to loosen its blockade of Gaza.
President Obama: "We agree that Israelis have the right to prevent arms from entering into Gaza that can be used to launch attacks into Israeli territory. But we also think that it is important for us to explore new mechanisms so that we can have goods and services and economic development and the ability of people to start their own businesses and to grow the economy and provide opportunity within Gaza."
President Obama also announced $400 million in assistance for the Palestinians, but the New York Times reports the pledge includes just $70 million in new money. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza.
Mahmoud Abbas: "And we also see the need to lift the Israeli siege of the Palestinian people, the need to open all the crossings, and the need to let building material and humanitarian material and all the necessities go in to the Palestinian people. And also we appreciate the attention given to the formation of an investigation committee that would investigate what happened in the latest events, the events of what we call the Freedom Flotilla or the Freedom Fleet."