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Harris escalates admin calls for Gaza ceasefire

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Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday forcefully called for more humanitarian aid into Gaza, saying that people in the region are ‘starving’ in the face of ‘inhumane’ conditions and urging Israel to do more in one of the strongest pushes by a US official to date.

Harris – who was in Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday – has been closely monitoring the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Gaza and has been involved in the post-conflict planning for the besieged coastal enclave.

Her Sunday remarks marked an escalation in the US push to address the situation in Gaza. “The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses,” Harris said. Her comments also come at a critical moment in the Israel-Hamas war. On Monday, the vice president is expected to meet with a key member of the Israeli War Cabinet, Benny Gantz, in Washington as the US continues to advocate a temporary ceasefire and hostage release.

“What we are seeing every day in Gaza is devastating. We have seen reports of families eating leaves or animal feed. Women giving birth to malnourished babies with little or no medical care, and children dying from malnutrition and dehydration,” Harris said, citing the deaths of dozens of Palestinians amid Israeli gunfire and panic at Gaza food lines.

“Our hearts break for the victims of that horrific tragedy and for all the innocent people in Gaza who are suffering from what is clearly a humanitarian catastrophe. People in Gaza are starving. The conditions are inhumane,” she continued.

Harris also echoed calls by President Joe Biden for a six-week ceasefire – a proposal that would allow for the release of hostages held by Hamas and a surge of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire, for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table,” Harris said to cheers from the crowd.

“Hamas claims it wants a ceasefire. Well, there is a deal on the table. And as we have said, Hamas needs to agree to that deal. Let’s get a ceasefire. Let’s reunite the hostages with their families. And let’s provide immediate relief to the people of Gaza,” she added.

On Saturday, the United States and Jordan air-dropped humanitarian aid into Gaza after Biden had asserted that the US would pull out “every stop” to get more aid into the territory.

Senior administration officials touted the effort as successful but maintained that more needs to be done to address the crisis in Gaza, including ensuring land crossings are available to send more assistance into the region. Officials are also exploring a maritime corridor to deliver aid. (CNN)

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