'Top priority' of Biden admin is to ensure humanitarian aid for Palestinian people: White House

"As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, President Biden has made it a top priority to ensure that the Palestinian people receive urgently needed humanitarian aid."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

During Monday’s White House press conference, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Biden has "made it a top priority" to get humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people. 

"As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, President Biden has made it a top priority to ensure that the Palestinian people receive urgently needed humanitarian aid," Jean-Pierre said.

This comes after Biden's Thursday speech to the nation, in which he said that aid would be going to Gaza, and so that as long as Hamas didn't steal it, more aid would be forthcoming. Israel had laid siege to the region after the terror group that leads the government launched a brutal attack on Israel, killing some 1,400 men, women and children. 

"Yesterday," Biden said on Thursday, "in discussions with the leaders of Israel and Egypt, I secured an agreement for the first shipment of humanitarian assistance from the United Nations to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. If Hamas does not divert or steal this shipment, these shipments, we're going to provide an opening for sustained delivery of Life Saving humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians."

On Saturday, Biden said in a statement that the first convoy of humanitarian assistance crossed into Gaza.

"I made it clear from the outset of this crisis–in both my public statements and private conversations–that humanitarian assistance was a critical and urgent need that had to get moving, and I express my deep personal appreciation for the leadership of President Al-Sisi of Egypt, Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, and the United Nations to allow the resumption of this assistance," Biden said.

"The United States remains committed to ensuring that civilians in Gaza will continue to have access to food, water, medical care, and other assistance, without diversion by Hamas. We will continue to work with all parties to keep the Rafah crossing in operation to enable the continued movement of aid that is imperative to the welfare of the people of Gaza, and to continue working to protect civilians, consistent with obligations under international humanitarian law."

Biden’s visit to Israel, which occurred last week, was reportedly conditioned on Israel allowing humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza.

Biden’s trip wasn’t announced until after Antony Blinken met with Israeli officials for nearly 8 hours on Monday, during which "they received commitments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a humanitarian package.

The State Department during this meeting worked to gain "safe zones" for Palestinians, as well as humanitarian aid.

According to CBS News, the United Nations announced that 14 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were allowed to enter Gaza. This came one day after the first trucks carrying aid were allowed into Gaza from  Egypt.

In a Joint Statement on Israel issued on Sunday by Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Gioria Meloni, and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the leaders "welcomed the announcement of the first humanitarian convoys to reach Palestinians in need in Gaza and committed to continue coordinating with partners in the region to ensure sustained and safe access to food, water, medical care, and other assistance required to meet humanitarian needs."

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