Apr 29, 2024 - World

"It is not enough": Blinken urges Israel to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza

Antony Blinken attends a Joint Ministerial Meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-US Strategic Partnership discussing the humanitarian situation in Gaza, at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretariat in Riyadh on April 29,

Antony Blinken in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on April 29. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that while there have been improvements in the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza in recent weeks, Israel must do more to improve the situation in the enclave.

Why it matters: Blinken's push for more aid comes amid a widening split between the Biden administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government as the increasingly unpopular Israel-Hamas war grinds on.

Driving the news: Blinken, who this week is making his seventh trip to the region since the start of the war, spoke at a meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers in Saudi Arabia on Monday, AP reported.

  • Blinken reiterated the Biden administration's stance that a ceasefire agreement, and the release of hostages, is necessary to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. He added that Israel had put forth "a very generous" hostage deal that could lead to a ceasefire.
  • "But we're also not waiting on a cease-fire to take the necessary steps to meet the needs of civilians in Gaza," Blinken said, adding that President Biden has been pushing for Israel to do more, per AP.

What they're saying: "We have seen measurable progress in the last few weeks, including the opening of new crossings, an increased volume of aid delivery to Gaza and within Gaza, and the building of the U.S. maritime corridor, which will open in the coming weeks."

  • Still, Blinken said, "it is not enough. We still need to get more aid in and around Gaza."

State of play: Israel agreed to increase humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza earlier this month, after Biden pressed Netanyahu to change course over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza or risk a change in U.S. policy.

  • The ultimatum came days after an Israeli strike killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers. After suspending its regional operations in the wake of the strike, WCK is resuming its operations in Gaza, the group said Sunday.

Zoom out: Blinken previously warned Israel that allowing aid into Gaza would be key to maintaining support for Israel's war against Hamas.

  • Biden held a phone call with Netanyahu on Sunday where the two leaders "discussed increases in the delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza," per a White House readout.
  • "The President stressed the need for this progress to be sustained and enhanced in full coordination with humanitarian organizations," it said.

Go deeper: Blinken urges Hamas to accept new Israeli terms for hostage release and ceasefire

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