Remarks by Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan, Acting Deputy Permanent Representative, at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East

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July 2, 2024

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Senior Coordinator Kaag, for your briefing and for the continued work and dedication of your team to alleviating the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The UN’s humanitarian response capabilities and leadership are essential.

The IPC recently projected that 96 percent of Gaza’s population – more than two million people – will likely experience crisis, emergency, or catastrophic levels of food insecurity between now and the end of September.

With much of Gaza’s population facing catastrophic levels of hunger, the situation is at risk of worsening rapidly, especially with sustained disruptions in aid flows.

We have consistently conveyed to Israel’s senior leadership the need to provide sustained and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to enter via all routes into Gaza.

Expanding and accelerating humanitarian imports at Ashdod, and opening all existing land crossings into Gaza, including at Rafah, are vital steps.

Relatedly, we appreciate Coordinator Kaag’s update on efforts to distribute aid within Gaza so that it will reach the most vulnerable, including mothers and children.

In this regard, we welcome Israel’s commitment to fulfill specific UN requests and continue constructive conversations with UN officials on how to best meet the further needs of UN agencies and facilitate their work.

In order for humanitarian organizations to be able to safely continue their lifesaving work, the IDF must implement concrete commitments to protect humanitarians and improve the overall security environment inside Gaza.

We reiterate that the lack of an effective deconfliction mechanism, nearly nine months into the conflict, is unacceptable and continues to put humanitarian actors at tremendous risk.

Colleagues, while we continue to press Israel to improve humanitarian access, we know that the best way to address the crisis is for Hamas to accept the ceasefire proposal endorsed by this Council in Resolution 2735. Doing so would create conditions to support a massive surge of relief for Palestinians, together with taking steps to restore essential services and start early recovery efforts in Gaza.

If the operating conditions improve, the humanitarian community can then provide lifesaving assistance to the most vulnerable, including the many unaccompanied and separated children, pregnant women, the elderly, and the many, many families who are going hungry and dying from preventable infections and disease. A ceasefire would also allow for increased commercial activity in Gaza, getting needed supplies to people and markets.

Unfortunately, Hamas has ignored the calls from this Council and across the international community, coming back with new demands outside of the framework outlined by Resolution 2735. We continue to work with Israel, Egypt, and Qatar to try and bridge the gaps, and as we heard this week, Israel remains on board.

We urge all Council members to continue to press Hamas to accept this deal without delay or conditions and to bring about the ceasefire with a release of hostages.

At the same time, the United States remains committed to providing humanitarian aid, as well as to sustaining humanitarian access. In June, we announced an additional $404 million in lifesaving humanitarian aid to support Palestinian civilians in Gaza, the West Bank, and the region to provide food, safe drinking water, health care, and protection.

We also stand ready to continue supporting Senior Coordinator Kaag’s efforts and would urge others on the Council to do so, as well.

Thank you.



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