Blinken Announces $400 Million in Aid to Gaza, Urges Allies to Expand Efforts

Besides pushing for a cease-fire, Mr. Blinken urged other nations to redouble their support for humanitarian efforts in the Gaza Strip.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $404 million in new aid to the Palestinian people on Tuesday, as he called for other countries to back a cease-fire proposal for the Gaza Strip and redouble their aid efforts after more than eight moths of fighting in the region.

Mr. Blinken attended a conference in Jordan, dubbed “Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza,“ to discuss the ongoing humanitarian concerns as Israeli forces continue to fight with Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. The secretary of state said his ”primary and first message” at the Tuesday conference was to support a cease-fire plan President Joe Biden articulated on May 31.

“To every government, to every multilateral institution, to every humanitarian organization that wants to relieve the massive suffering in Gaza: Get Hamas to take the deal. Press them publicly. Press them privately,” Mr. Blinken said.

Beyond the push for a cease-fire, Mr. Blinken urged other nations to redouble their support for humanitarian efforts in the Gaza Strip.

“Every country can help fill this gap, yet some who’ve expressed great concern over the suffering of Palestinian people in Gaza—including countries with the capacity to give a lot—have provided very little or nothing at all. It is time for everyone, everyone, to step up. And for those who have already given and given generously, give more.”

Mr. Blinken said the United States has for decades been the largest single-country provider of assistance for Palestinians.

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“Today, I’m announcing an additional $404 million in new aid to Palestinians in addition to the more than $1.8 billion in development, economic, and humanitarian aid that the United States has provided since 2021,” he said.

Global health and aid officials have repeatedly raised concerns of a growing famine threat in the Gaza Strip in recent months.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power testified during an April 10 House hearing that nearly the entire population of the Gaza Strip “is living under the threat of famine” and indicated famine conditions had likely already begun in some areas in the north. She based that assessment on a March report on the United Nation’s Integrated Food Security Phase Classification.

Ms. Power said at the time that while humanitarian supply deliveries through the Gaza land crossings had improved somewhat, “the destruction of greeneries, and markets, and arable land, and then the fact that so few trucks got in over so many months, means we have massive catch-up to do.”

The United Nations has estimated about 500 truckloads of humanitarian supplies and private-sector goods reached the Gaza Strip daily through land crossings before the start of the current conflict. According to President Biden, an average of 600 truckloads of humanitarian supplies would enter the Gaza Strip every day under the first phase of the three-phase ceasefire proposal currently on the table.

Mr. Blinken urged those in attendance at the conference in Jordan to support increased aid deliveries by land, sea, and air.

The secretary of state credited the Israeli government for taking some steps to increase humanitarian aid flows into the Gaza Strip, but said they “can and must do more.”

“As we’ve conveyed directly to the Israeli government, it is crucial to speed up the inspection of trucks and reduce backlogs; to provide greater clarity on—and shorten the list of—prohibited goods; to increase visas for aid workers and to process them more quickly; to create clearer, more effective channels for humanitarian groups to de-conflict with IDF operations; to surge lifesaving medicine and equipment; to provide everything necessary to repair water and sanitation systems,” he said.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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