US tells Israel to open crossings and co-operate with UN on Gaza aid delivery

UN senior co-ordinator for Gaza aid Sigrid Kaag says preparations for floating port and pier are advancing

People rush to humanitarian aid packages dropped over the northern Gaza Strip. AFP
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The US on Wednesday called on Israel to take immediate action to open more crossings into northern Gaza and co-operate fully with UN efforts to enable delivery of humanitarian aid.

“As Gaza faces imminent famine, lives hang in the balance and every day matters,” US deputy ambassador Robert Wood told a UN Security Council session on the Middle East.

“Israel has taken some positive steps. But not nearly enough and not quickly enough.

"Distribution at scale is critical as aid access is only as impactful as its system of delivery.”

Mr Wood said Washington is working with UN partners to open a maritime corridor.

“Part of that corridor entails the establishment of a temporary pier in Gaza, from which humanitarian assistance will be offloaded,” he said.

UN senior co-ordinator for Gaza aid Sigrid Kaag said preparations for building the floating port and pier are advancing, with the involvement of the US, UN agencies and other member states.

Mr Wood repeated his call for Israel to produce a credible and realistic plan to protect the civilian population in Rafah and address the humanitarian needs of those who have sought refuge in the south.

“We are deeply concerned by the massive internal displacement within Gaza, and the risk of forcible displacement from Gaza," he said.

"Israel must act in compliance with its obligations under international law. Full stop.”

UAE ship carrying Gaza aid arrives in Egypt's Al Arish Port – video

Third UAE ship carrying Gaza aid arrives in Egypt's Al Arish Port

Third UAE ship carrying Gaza aid arrives in Egypt's Al Arish Port

Algeria's UN ambassador Amar Bendjama said it was absurd that after 200 days of unrelenting violence, the council is still talking about meeting “basic needs” of those affected by Gaza conflict.

Those with influence on the “occupying power” should assist Ms Kaag, Mr Bendjama said.

Israel's deputy ambassador to the UN, Noa Furman, said that while the council expects Israel to increase efforts and do its share with regard to humanitarian aid to Gaza, it “must step up its own efforts and demand that this horror, which has lasted more than six months, finally ends”.

“It is regrettable that this council cannot bring refuge to these hostages and their families." Ms Furman said.

"We're here to remind all that these hostages have not been allowed any basic humanitarian assistance by the monstrous terrorist kidnappers at all.

“Israel will do whatever it takes to bring them home. This council must step up to that task, too.”

Updated: April 24, 2024, 11:40 PM