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Jordan hosts emergency aid summit for Gaza

By AFP

June 11, 2024 10:43 AM


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Jordan hosts a summit Tuesday on the urgent humanitarian response for Palestinians enduring more than eight months of devastating war in Gaza, where the United Nations has warned of looming famine.

With much of the territory's food, water and energy cut off, the vast majority of Gazans rely on sporadic aid deliveries by land, sea and air.

The summit seeks to bring together leaders and aid officials to "determine means for enhancing the international community's response to the humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip", according to the Jordanian royal court.

The conference is jointly organised by the UN, Jordan and Egypt on the Dead Sea coast and will be attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Blinken is on his eighth visit to the region since the war broke out, seeking to push a truce and hostage exchange deal put forward by US President Joe Biden at the end of May.

Under the proposal, Israel would withdraw from Gaza population centres and Hamas would free hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. The ceasefire would last an initial six weeks, which would be extended as negotiators seek a permanent end to hostilities.

Much of Gaza has been reduced to rubble and nearly all of its 2.4 million people displaced by the war that began on October 7 with Hamas's attack on southern Israel.

Aid to Gaza has been severely restricted, particularly since the closure in May of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt -- the main conduit for humanitarian and fuel deliveries -- after Israeli troops seized the Palestinian side as they pursued Hamas militants.

Jordan's foreign ministry said the conference would discuss "preparations for early recovery, and seek commitments for a collective and coordinated response to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza".

"The main purpose of this summit is to reach consensus over practical measures to meet the immediate needs" in Gaza, the ministry added in a statement.

Hamas's October 7 attack resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

The militants also seized 251 hostages, more than 100 of whom were released during a November truce. Israel says 116 hostages remain in Gaza, although the army says 41 of them are dead.

Israel's retaliatory military offensive has killed at least 37,124 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to Gaza's health ministry.


AFP


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