Harris calls Gaza ‘humanitarian catastrophe,’ urges Israel to increase aid

Vice President Harris pressured the Israeli government to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza on Sunday, calling the situation in the war-torn region a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

“What we are seeing every day in Gaza is devastating,” Harris said in a Selma, Ala., speech on Sunday. “We have seen reports of families eating leaves or animal food. Women giving birth to malnourished babies with little or no medical care, and children dying from malnutrition and dehydration.”

The Biden administration has turned up criticism of Israel in recent weeks over humanitarian conditions in Gaza, especially after the killing of more than 100 civilians attempting to receive aid Thursday.

“As I have said many times, too many innocent Palestinians have been killed,” she said. “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,” she added. “The conditions are inhumane. And our common humanity compels us to act.”

President Biden announced Friday that the U.S. will airdrop humanitarian aid into Gaza as negotiations continue over a temporary cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war. Biden added to criticism of Israel on Friday over the amount of aid allowed into the region.

“Innocent people got caught in a terrible war, unable to feed their families, and you saw the response when they tried to get aid. And we need to do more, and the United States will do more,” Biden said.

“The truth is, aid flowing to Gaza is nowhere nearly enough now. It’s nowhere nearly enough. Innocent lives are on the line, and children’s lives are on the line,” he added.

The airdrops began early Saturday. Harris applauded the aid deliveries and noted that the U.S. will work to establish a sea route for aid to enter Gaza.

“The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid,” she said. “No excuses.”

Biden has faced growing pressure from Democrats to call for a permanent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas as the situation in Gaza worsens, and the Palestinian death toll from Israel’s attacks climbs above 30,000.

The Israeli government agreed to the framework of a proposed six-week cease-fire on Saturday, The Associated Press reported, a sign of progress in negotiations.

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