Blinken announces more than $400 million in new humanitarian aid for the Palestinians in Gaza


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday announced more than $400 million in new humanitarian aid for the Palestinians in Gaza, while again calling on Hamas to accept a ceasefire proposal which he described as the most effective way to tackle the humanitarian devastation.

The top US diplomat also called on countries to provide more aid to support people in the war-torn region during a humanitarian emergency conference in Jordan.

“The crisis in Gaza is immense,” he said.

“Only a third of the current United Nations appeal is funded. That leaves a deficit of about $2 billion to $3 billion. Every country can help fill this gap. Yet some who expressed deep concern about the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza, including countries that could give a lot, have given very little — or nothing at all,” Blinken said, without naming specific countries. “It’s time for everyone, everyone, to step up.”

The new $404 million in funding from the US will go to “food, safe drinking water, health care, protection, education, shelter and psychosocial support,” according to a State Department media note.

The humanitarian situation on the ground in Gaza has become catastrophic during the eight months of Israel’s war against Hamas. The Israeli government has restricted access and items that could have found their way into the strip. Humanitarian agencies have struggled with destroyed infrastructure that hampers their ability to deliver much-needed aid, and aid workers have been caught in the crossfire.

In his remarks Tuesday, Blinken said that “Israel, especially in recent months, has taken some important steps to open more border crossings and address obstacles to delivering aid, but it can and should do more.”

“As we have communicated directly to the Israeli government, it is crucial to expedite the delivery of inspection vehicles and clear the backlog, to clarify and shorten the list of prohibited goods, to expedite visas for responders and process them more quickly. create clearer, more effective channels for humanitarian groups to break conflict with IDF operations, to provide life-saving medicine and equipment, to provide everything needed to restore water and sanitation,” he said.

“And Israel must take further steps to reduce civilian casualties, even as it faces an enemy who started this war with the barbaric massacre of civilians on October 7,” Blinken said.

The top US diplomat reiterated that the US sees Hamas as the only obstacle to a ceasefire that would alleviate humanitarian suffering.

“Today, as we meet, one and only one thing stands in the way of the deal’s realization, and that is Hamas,” he said. “So my most important and first message today to every government, to every multilateral institution, to every humanitarian organization that wants to alleviate the enormous suffering in Gaza: make sure Hamas accepts the deal.”

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