Israel has made 'some progress' in addressing UN’s security concerns over Gaza aid delivery: US

Israel has made 'some progress' in addressing UN’s security concerns over Gaza aid delivery: US

'We’ve been working to address urgent challenges that are making it difficult to deliver the necessary humanitarian assistance the people of Gaza,' says Secretary of State

By Diyar Guldogan

WASHINGTON (AA) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that Israel has made "some progress" in committing to address some of the security concerns the UN has in order to make sure it can effectively and more safely deliver aid to the Gaza Strip.

“Over the past week or so, we’ve been working to address urgent challenges that are making it difficult to deliver the necessary humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza who so desperately need it, particularly when it comes to the security of the deliveries and those delivering the assistance," Blinken told reporters along with UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag.

Blinken said he raised these concerns "clearly and directly" with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant when he was in Washington, D.C. recently.

"I think we’ve seen over the last couple of days some progress in Israel committing to address some of the needs that the United Nations in particular has, to make sure that it can effectively and more safely deliver assistance.

"We continue to face the challenge of aid getting to and into Gaza but then not being able to be distributed effectively because, principally, of real security challenges," he added.

Stressing that important work has to be done to supply basic necessities including food, water and medicine to the Palestinian people, Blinken said: "It’s good that and important that Israel is addressing these very concrete needs, but they have to be implemented as quickly as possible. There is no time to lose."

- Safe and secure distribution of aid

Kaag said it is a "very critical" period and she is responsible for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2720 demanding "immediate, safe and unhindered delivery" of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians throughout Gaza.

"So it’s our task, indeed, not only to get the aid to Gaza, but also to have the ability to distribute this safely and securely.

"And I’m not only saying this for the United Nations family. It’s also for the NGOs that risk their lives every day with – in their presence, Palestinian NGOs as much as the international NGOs," she added.

Kaag stressed that it is a "very difficult" operating environment not only for civilians but also those who seek to assist, adding that the ongoing discussions with the Israeli government are "extremely important" in this regard with the support of the US.

Senior UN officials told Israel they will suspend aid operations across Gaza unless urgent steps are taken to protect humanitarian workers from Israeli strikes.

Israel, flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

More than 37,700 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and over 86,400 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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