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‘100% of Gaza population at severe level food insecurity,’ Blinken says before Middle East trip

State secretary is is about to make 6th visit to region since Oct. 7

Trucks with Humanitarian aid arrive at the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Nov. 2, 2023 (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90).

The Gaza Strip’s entire population is in acute danger of starvation, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed on Monday, in the most dramatic description yet to be used by a U.S. official regarding the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Blinken’s comments came during a press conference in the Philippines on Monday, ahead of his upcoming sixth trip to the Middle East since last October.

“According to the most respected measure of these things, 100% of the population in Gaza is at severe levels of acute food insecurity. That’s the first time an entire population has been so classified,” Blinken said.

“One hundred percent of the Gaza population is in need of humanitarian assistance,” Blinken said, adding that it was “absolutely incumbent” upon Israel to prioritize assistance for those in desperate need.

“We’ve also impressed upon Israel the imperative of having a plan for Gaza for when the conflict ends, which we hope will be as soon as possible, consistent with Israel’s needs to defend itself and make sure October 7 can never happen again,” the U.S. diplomat said.

Blinken is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia and Egypt this week to discuss the ongoing hostage deal negotiations and efforts to reach a truce in the Gaza conflict, as well as ways to increase humanitarian aid transfers, according to U.S. State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller.

“The Secretary will discuss efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages, intensified international efforts to increase humanitarian assistance to Gaza, and coordination on post-conflict planning for Gaza, including ensuring Hamas can no longer govern or repeat the attacks of October 7,” Miller said in a statement.

He added that Blinken would also talk about “a political path for the Palestinian people with security assurances with Israel."

Blinken’s comments most likely were about a report released this week by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), a joint initiative by experts from the United Nations, relief agencies and research groups.

The report alleged that the number of people in Gaza facing catastrophic levels of hunger had doubled since December, while the northern part of the Strip was already on the verge of meeting the criteria for famine. A full famine in northern Gaza was estimated to happen between now and the end of May, according to the report.

Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy slammed the report for failing to account for major humanitarian initiatives in the past week, calling it “a bad assessment, based on an out-of-date picture that cannot provide a meaningful projection of future trends.”

In a comment posted to 𝕏, Levy wrote: “The report literally says ‘at the top’ that its projection is based on an out of date assessment, and as such does not take account of the recent efforts to turbocharge aid deliveries to the minority of Gazans still in the north.”

In another post on 𝕏 on Monday, Levy wrote: “The United Nations has confirmed a ‘significant scale-up in humanitarian efforts... facilitated by the Israeli authorities across Gaza,’ involving WFP trucks and Israeli cooperation with the Gazan private sector.”

“Israel is facilitating aid deliveries into Gaza by air, land, and sea, with the creation of a new maritime corridor, airdrops to hard-to-reach areas, and the opening of a new gate in the security fence.”

“Israel places zero restrictions on the amount of food entering Gaza and, in fact, encourages donor states to send as much as they want. It remains committed to ensuring as much aid as is needed enters Gaza. Hamas is hijacking and hoarding aid, while UN agencies turn a blind eye and on some occasions actively cover up its large-scale theft of aid,” Levy added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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