International Desk: As the White House prepares to hold a conference aimed at resolving the Gaza Strip's humanitarian crisis, Palestinians in the besieged enclave say summit is an attempt at erasing the Palestinian cause and turning it into "an aid project".
Palestinian representatives, who declined the White House's invitation to attend, were absent at the conference happening on Tuesday in Washington, DC.
However, representatives from some 20 countries, including Israel and several Arab countries, are among the attendees who will discuss Gaza's health challenges, its chronic contaminated water and electricity problem, as well as poverty and food security.
The US was expected to unveil several proposals that tackle some of the issues faced by Gaza's residents.
US President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt - who are key supporters of Israeli rightwing policies against Palestinians - will speak at the summit.
In his opening remarks, Greenblatt laid blame on Hamas, the Palestinian group which governs Gaza, saying it is "profoundly unfit" to govern the territory.
"This is about the health, safety and happiness of the people of Gaza, and of all Palestinians, Israelis and Egyptians."
Gaza residents continue to face a desperate situation because of the blockade with water and electricity shortages, as well as a lack of medicines and doctors unable to perform surgeries.
The Israeli blockade of Gaza, in its current form, has been in place since June 2007, when Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the area after Hamas won elections in the enclave a year earlier.
Israel controls Gaza's airspace and territorial waters, as well as two of the three border crossing points; the third is controlled by Egypt. Both Israel and Egypt have kept their borders largely shut and are responsible for further deteriorating the already-weakened economic and humanitarian situations.
Gaza, which has seen three Israeli assaults in the last decade, is home to some two million people, many of whom participated in protests against Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital last year.
Since Trump's move, the PA has questioned the US position as an honest broker in mediating peace efforts between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
While Palestinian officials see East Jerusalem as the capital of their potential state, the move, experts have said, effectively "killed" the Oslo peace process that was based on that premise.
risingbd/March 14, 2018/Mukul