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About $400M in additional aid announced for Gaza

June 11, 2024

(CNN) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday announced more than $400 million in new humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza as he again called on Hamas to accept a ceasefire proposal that he described as the most effective way to address the humanitarian devastation.

The top US diplomat, speaking at an emergency humanitarian aid conference in Jordan, also called on nations to give more aid to support those in the war-torn strip.

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

“Only one third of the current United Nations appeal is funded. That leaves a shortfall of approximately $2 billion to $3 billion. Every country can help fill this gap. Yet some who expressed great concern over the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza, including countries with the capacity to give a lot, have provided very little – or nothing at all,” Blinken said without naming specific countries.

“It is time for everyone, everyone, to step up.”

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

The humanitarian situation on the ground in Gaza has become catastrophic over the eight months of Israel’s war against Hamas.

The Israeli government has restricted access and items that have been able to make their way into the strip. Humanitarian aid organisations have had to contend with a destroyed infrastructure inhibiting their ability to deliver the critically-needed aid, and aid workers have been caught in the crossfire.

In his remarks Tuesday, Blinken said that “particularly in recent months, Israel has taken some important steps to open more crossings, to address obstacles to the delivery of assistance, but it can and must do more.”

“As we conveyed directly to the Israeli government, it is crucial to speed up the inspection 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 deconflict with IDF operations, to surge life-saving medicine and equipment, to provide everything necessary to repair water and sanitation systems,” he said.

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

The top US diplomat again stressed that the US sees Hamas as the sole obstacle to a ceasefire that would alleviate the humanitarian suffering.

“Today, as we gather, one, and only one, thing stands in the way of the deal happening, and that’s Hamas,” he said. “So my primary and first message today to every government, to every multilateral institution, to every humanitarian organisation that wants to relieve the massive suffering in Gaza: get Hamas to take the deal.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with the Palestinian Authority prime minister during the “Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza” conference at the Dead Sea in Jordan on June 11. (Photo: Alaa Al-Sukhni/Pool/AFP/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

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