Blinken's Middle East tour: US pledges another $400 million in aid for Gaza and West Bank

This is the largest humanitarian aid package to date, bringing the total allocated to Palestinian territories since the start of the war to $674 million.

On his latest trip to the Middle East, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the largest humanitarian aid package for Palestine to date. This is a package of assistance of up to $400 million destined for Gaza and the West Bank. With this sum, total U.S. aid to Palestinian territories increases to $674 million since the start of the war between Hamas and Israel.

Secretary Blinken made this announcement during his visit to Jordan, where he met with local authorities. During the press conference, the head of American diplomacy encouraged other countries to contribute humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

"As the largest single country humanitarian donor to the Palestinian people, we recognize the urgent need for more assistance to reach civilians given the dire humanitarian conditions and call on all donors to support life-saving operations for Palestinians in Gaza and the region," reads a statement from the State Department.

Blinken's visit to the region comes after the United Nations Security Council approved a ceasefire resolution between Israel and Hamas this Monday. This resolution was voted in favor by the United States, which has the right to veto. Russia abstained. With this, the Biden administration and the Security Council once again urge Netanyahu's government to accept a truce agreement that also involves the release of hostages.

Pressure on Hamas for ceasefire

Prior to his visit to Jordan, Blinken first passed through Israel to meet with Netanyahu's cabinet in Jerusalem. There, says the State Department, Blinken "reiterated that the United States and other world leaders will stand behind the comprehensive proposal outlined by President Biden that would lead to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages, and a significant and sustained increase in humanitarian assistance for distribution throughout Gaza."

Blinken also said Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar will be mainly responsible for the success of the ceasefire agreement from this point forward. The terrorist group would have welcomed the U.N. resolution with open arms, Blinken believes, but it is Sinwar, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, who has the final say. "If Hamas doesn’t say yes, then this is clearly on them — on them in terms of a vote to continue the war, not end it; on them in terms of the safety, the well-being of hundreds of thousands, millions of Palestinian women, children, and men in Gaza," Blinken said.

Political reform among Palestinian forces

One of the demands from the international community and the United States for the development of peace in the region is the reform and renewal of Palestinian political forces, both in Gaza and the West Bank.

Regarding this, and as usually happens in international conclaves, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), the internationally recognized political faction with limited status before the United Nations, committed to meeting these objectives.

During a meeting in Jordan, Blinken said he values ​​these commitments by local leaders. The secretary of state welcomed P.A. reform announcements in meeting with P.A. Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa in Jordan, according to a statement from the State Department.

"Secretary Blinken welcomed reform announcements by the Palestinian Authority and discussed with Prime Minister Mustafa the need for full and consistent implementation of those reforms to achieve the aspirations of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. He reaffirmed the United States’ support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel," the statement says.