(Sweimeh) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday announced $404 million in new US aid for the Palestinians, while urging other countries to do the same, at an international conference in Jordan on humanitarian aid for Gaza.

The aid brings the total U.S. contribution to Palestinians – in the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank and the region – to $674 million since the war broke out in October, according to the State Department.

Mr. Blinken, however, stressed that the appeal for funds launched by the United Nations for the Palestinians was only one-third funded, with a deficit of some $2.3 billion.

“Some have expressed great concern about the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza, including countries capable of giving a lot, which have provided very little or nothing at all,” the US secretary of state said.

“It’s time for everyone – everyone – to take action. And for those who have already given and given generously, give even more,” he added.

Mr. Blinken did not specify the terms of this donation, but Washington, the main donor to the Palestinians, focused on the World Food Program and private aid groups.

The US Congress has banned any new contributions to the main coordinator of aid to Gaza, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

UNRWA found itself at the heart of an international conference organized by a diplomatic storm and on the verge of collapse after Israel accused a dozen in Jordan in January of mobilizing funds for 13,000 Gaza employees of being involved in the Hamas attack in Israel that sparked the ongoing war on October 7.

This led many countries, including the United States, to abruptly suspend funding to the agency, threatening its efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, although several states have since resumed payments. .

The leaders pleaded Tuesday in Jordan, during a summit on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, for greater access of aid to the war-devastated territory and supported a ceasefire proposed by the United States .

Triggered by the unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 in Israel, the war between Israel and the Islamist movement has led to a very serious humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory.  

“The horror must end,” declared UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the summit on the shores of the Dead Sea.

“The pace and scale… of the killings in Gaza exceed anything I have experienced during my years as secretary-general,” he added.

Jordan has invited world leaders for urgent talks as NGOs, agencies and the UN sound the alarm over the Gaza Strip, with virtually the entire population of 2.4 million dependent on deliveries aid far below needs.

Describing the war as a “stain on humanity”, UN humanitarian coordinator Martin Griffiths appealed for $2.5 billion to meet the needs of Gazans until December.

Mr. Guterres called on all parties to accept a ceasefire plan recently presented by US President Joe Biden, which envisages, in a first phase, a six-week ceasefire accompanied by a withdrawal Israeli government from densely populated areas of Gaza, the release of certain hostages and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who arrived in Jordan from Israel, stressed that while waiting for a possible agreement, there was no time to lose in helping the Gazans and announced that the United States United would give more than $400 million in aid.

The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, indicated that his country would provide 16 million euros ($17 million).

The future Indonesian president, Prabowo Subianto, announced that Indonesia was ready to send medical teams, a field hospital and a hospital ship to Gaza, saying it could evacuate 1,000 people in need of medical treatment.

Representatives from 75 countries and leaders of numerous NGOs attended the summit, which was jointly organised by the United Nations, Jordan and Egypt.

Much of the Gaza Strip has been reduced to rubble and a majority of its residents have been displaced by the fighting.

The UN has been warning for several months that famine threatens in Gaza.  

“More than 50,000 children need treatment for acute malnutrition,” Guterres said on Tuesday.

Over the past month, “the flow of humanitarian aid, crucial for the population of Gaza – which was already very insufficient – ​​has fallen by two thirds,” he added.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi has accused Israel, which is besieging the Gaza Strip, of using hunger as a weapon of war, which Israel strongly denies.

Humanitarian aid has been entering the territory in dribs and drabs, particularly since the Israeli army launched a ground operation in the town of Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, in early May and took the Palestinian side of the point. passing through Egypt, where most of the aid went.

The attack carried out on October 7 by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Palestinian territory in southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, the majority civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data .

During this attack, 251 people were taken as hostages. A total of 116 hostages are still being held in Gaza, 41 of whom are dead, according to the Israeli military.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007 and which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union.

His army launched a deadly offensive in the small coastal territory. At least 37,124 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led Gaza government.