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At Jordan event, Blinken announces $404 million in new aid to Palestinians

By JNS Staff

(JNS) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with King Abdullah II and spoke at the conference “Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza,” during which he announced another $404 million in U.S. aid to Palestinians, in Sweimeh, Jordan. 

Blinken both criticized Israel for not doing enough to help struggling Palestinian civilians and took Arab states to task for not providing enough aid.

Some of the countries that have “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,” Blinken charged at the conference. “It is time for everyone—everyone—to step up.”

“For those who have already given and given generously, give more,” he said, noting that Washington “has for decades been the largest single country provider of assistance for Palestinians.” The $404 million in new aid brings the total that Washington has provided to Palestinians since 2021 up to $1.8 billion, he said.

The United States has provided $674 million in the last eight months, the State Department stated.

Blinken also met with the Jordanian king in Sweimeh, which borders the Dead Sea.

The U.S. secretary “underscored continued unwavering U.S. support for Jordan and the Jordanian people” as he cited 75 years of U.S.-Jordanian partnership and “commended the king’s commitment to economic modernization and vital public sector reforms,” per a U.S. readout of the meeting.

The U.S. secretary and Jordanian king “discussed the comprehensive ceasefire and hostage release deal now on the table that offers a concrete roadmap for ending the war in Gaza” and Blinken thanked the king for Jordan’s “support for the deal and leadership in facilitating the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza,” according to Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman.

During the meeting, which the Jordanian crown prince attended, the king stressed “the importance of stepping up efforts to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” per an official Jordanian description of the meeting.

“The king warned against undermining the efforts of UNRWA in Gaza, adding that it represents a lifeline for nearly two million Palestinians in the sector,” per Jordanian media.

Speaking at the conference, Blinken charged that 95% of Palestinians in Gaza lack clean drinking water.

“Hunger is everywhere. Virtually everyone in Gaza depends on aid to survive,” he said. “The single most effective step we can take to address the urgent humanitarian challenges in Gaza is to reach an immediate—and ultimately, enduring—ceasefire.”

Blinken credited Israel with taking “some important steps” to open more entry points into Gaza for aid. “But it can and must do more,” he said.

He said that Washington has told the Israeli government directly “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.”

It wasn’t clear what sort of “prohibited goods” Blinken was referring to Israel having to clarify and minimize, and that appeared to be a U.S. requirement that hadn’t been articulated publicly in a White House, State Department or Pentagon release or press briefing.

JNS sought comment from the National Security Council, State Department and the U.S. Department of Defense.

“We continue to work with humanitarian partners and the government of Israel to streamline inspection processes and ensure critical humanitarian items can swiftly enter and be put to use in Gaza,” a U.S. Agency for International Development spokesperson told JNS on background. 

“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 Oct. 7, an enemy that conducts operations from schools, from hospitals, from camps of displaced families, an enemy that cynically hides behind or underneath the people it purports to represent,” Blinken said.

PHOTO: Blinken at International conference

CAP: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken participates in a “Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza” international conference in Sweimeh, Jordan, June 11, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

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