The Middle East Institute's George and Rhonda Salem Family Foundation lecture series proudly hosted Gaza-based Rania Elhilou (ANERA) and Paul Butler (ANERA) for a discussion of the humanitarian and infrastructural costs of the recent Gaza conflict and steps needed to address the ongoing crisis.
Nearly two months after the ceasefire, more than 100,000 people remain displaced due to the massive infrastructural damage to housing units, businesses, schools and clinics. Many more lack access to basic resources, including food, electricity and clean drinking water. Based on her observations from the ground, Elhilou described the conditions faced by Gaza residents, and how they are coping, while Butler discussed the challenges to Gaza's reconstruction. Middle East Institute scholar Amb. Philip Wilcox moderated the discussion.
Paul Butler is ANERA's country director for West Bank/Gaza (since 2011). Before joining ANERA, Butler served as regional director for the Middle East and Caucasus for Bridging the Divide, developing programs in Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. He also served as country director for Mercy Corps and Catholic Relief Services in Iraq, West Bank/Gaza, and India, and as a program manager and assistant country representative in the Balkans and West Bank/Gaza. Earlier in his career, Butler directed the Gaza office of Catholic Relief Services in 1998.
Rania Elhilou is a Gaza-based communications officer for ANERA.
Amb. Philip C. Wilcox, Jr. is an adjunct scholar at The Middle East Institute and former president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Mr. Wilcox retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1997 after a 31-year career. He served as press attaché in Vientiane, Laos, political and economic-commercial officer in Jakarta, Indonesia, and chief of the Economic-Commercial Section in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His last overseas assignment was as chief of mission and consul general in Jerusalem. Ambassador Wilcox served as special assistant to the undersecretary for management, deputy director for U.N. political affairs in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs and as director for regional affairs in the Bureau for Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs. He also held the positions of director for Israeli and Arab-Israeli affairs and deputy assistant secretary of state for Middle Eastern affairs.