US Special Envoy Blames Hamas for Civilian Casualties in Gaza Conflict
David Satterfield, the recently appointed US special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues, has placed the blame for civilian casualties during the current conflict in Gaza squarely on Hamas. In a briefing attended by Arab News, Satterfield also acknowledged that the humanitarian assistance being provided to Palestinian civilians in the territory is currently far below what is needed for survival.
Insufficient Aid for Palestinians in Gaza
Satterfield revealed that approximately 100 aid trucks are entering Gaza each day, but this falls well short of the minimum requirement of 150 trucks per day to address the growing humanitarian crisis. He emphasized that the current level of assistance is just a start and that much more is needed to provide basic survival humanitarian assistance.
US Support for Israel’s Military Campaign
While declining to comment on reports of escalating violence by Israeli forces in the West Bank, Satterfield reiterated Washington’s support for Israel’s military campaign to root out Hamas in Gaza. He stated that the focus has been on moving humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of Palestinian civilians in south and central Gaza as much as possible.
Hamas’ Role in the Humanitarian Crisis
Satterfield attributed civilian deaths to 15 years of Hamas militancy in the territory and did not address the specific issue of Israeli military operations. He highlighted the complexity of the situation, with Hamas deliberately embedding itself in and around humanitarian sites, making any campaign of this kind enormously challenging.
US Aid Efforts and Future Plans
The US aid effort is currently focused on providing support to civilians in central and southern Gaza who have fled the Israeli military operations in the north. Satterfield emphasized that Washington does not support Palestinians being forced to leave Gaza and believes that their future lies within the territory. He also expressed the vision that the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank will ultimately assume authority over Gaza, and reiterated US support for a two-state solution.
Minimizing Civilian Casualties and Providing Humanitarian Assistance
Satterfield emphasized the importance of conducting the campaign in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and ensures the maximum degree of humanitarian assistance. He acknowledged the difficulty of achieving these goals given Hamas’ actions over the past 15 years but stressed that they must be dealt with together.
Hope for Humanitarian Pause in Hostilities
Satterfield acknowledged a four-to-five-hour daily humanitarian pause in hostilities announced by the US and Israel, expressing hope that it would allow more humanitarian aid to enter the territory and reach Palestinians in south and central Gaza who have fled the violence in the north.
No Comment on Hezbollah Threat
Satterfield declined to comment on the threat of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah escalating along the border between the countries. However, he stated that Hezbollah and Tehran understand the US president’s message, which is to avoid spreading the conflict.
In conclusion, David Satterfield, the US special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues, has blamed Hamas for civilian casualties in the current conflict in Gaza. He emphasized the need for increased humanitarian assistance and stressed the importance of conducting the campaign in a way that minimizes civilian casualties. The US aid effort is focused on supporting civilians in central and southern Gaza, with a vision for the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank to assume authority over Gaza in the future. Satterfield expressed hope for a humanitarian pause in hostilities to allow more aid to reach those in need.