*** ----> US promises over $400 million in new aid to ease Palestinians’ suffering | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

US promises over $400 million in new aid to ease Palestinians’ suffering

AFP | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

The US yesterday promised more than $400 million in new aid for the Palestinians at an emergency summit in Jordan, where world leaders backed a US push for a ceasefire as the only ultimate solution to help war-ravaged Gaza.

Meanwhile, Hamas gave its official response to the latest truce proposal for Gaza yesterday, calling for a “complete halt” to Israeli “aggression” as fighting raged in the Palestinian territory.

“The response prioritises the interests of our Palestinian people and emphasises the necessity of a complete halt to the ongoing aggression on Gaza,” Hamas said in a statement.

Jordan and Egypt called the urgent talks on the Dead Sea as aid groups warned conditions were worse than ever in Gaza, with virtually the whole population of more than two million people relying on sporadic aid deliveries.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on a new trip across the region as he seeks to press a ceasefire proposal between Israel and Hamas, promised $404 million for food, drinking water, health supplies and other aid to the Palestinians.

Hitting back at critics of US support for Israel, Blinken noted that a UN appeal for the Palestinians was only one-third funded, with a shortfall of some $2.3 billion.

‘Little or nothing’

“Some who have 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, likely referring to US adversaries China and Russia.

“It is time for everyone — everyone — to step up. And for those who have already given and given generously, give more,” he said. He called on countries to press Hamas to accept the ceasefire proposal laid out on May 31 by President Joe Biden, saying that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured him of support.

UN chief Antonio Guterres also supported the US-led proposal, telling the conference, “The horror must stop.” “The speed and scale of the carnage and killing in Gaza is beyond anything in my years as secretary-general,” he said.

Aid contribution

The US pledge has brought its aid contribution to $674 million since the October 7 attack by Hamas opened the war. Blinken did not specify how the US would deliver the assistance, but Washington has focused on the World Food Programme and private aid groups. The US is the largest donor to the Palestinians. It also provides Israel with $3.8 billion in annual military aid.