U.S. gives $47 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza

The United States has committed $47 million to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The money will be for “direct humanitarian assistance,” Secretary of State John Kerry said July 21 at a news conference in Cairo with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The assistance, according to the State Department, includes $15 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for its $60 million Gaza Flash Appeal; $3.5 million in emergency relief assistance from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance; $10 million in existing USAID bilateral funding, redirected to meet immediate humanitarian needs in Gaza; and $18.5 million in new USAID bilateral funding for humanitarian and emergency relief assistance.

“We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel’s appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself,” Kerry said. “No country can stand by while rockets are attacking it and tunnels are dug in order to come into your country and assault your people. But always, in any kind of conflict, there is a concern about civilians, about children, women, communities that are caught in it. And we are particularly trying to focus on a way to respond to their very significant needs.”

He added that the United States “will work to see if there is some way to not only arrive at a cease-fire of some kind, but to get to a discussion about the underlying issues.”

Ban called on Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel and said he understands why Israel has to respond militarily, “but there is a proportionality. And most of the … death toll are Palestinian people.” — jta