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UN Appoints Gaza Humanitarian Relief Coordinator Following Aid Vote

Palestinians line up for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Dec. 21, 2023.
Palestinians line up for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Dec. 21, 2023.

The United Nations on Tuesday announced the appointment of a coordinator to oversee humanitarian relief shipments into Gaza as part of a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted on Friday to boost humanitarian aid.

Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands will be the senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza and will start the role on Jan. 8, the U.N. said in a statement.

"In this role she will facilitate, coordinate, monitor and verify humanitarian relief consignments for Gaza," said the U.N. She will also establish a "mechanism" to accelerate aid into Gaza through countries not involved with the conflict.

Friday's Security Council resolution stopped short of calling for a cease-fire after a week of vote delays and intense negotiations to avoid a United States veto. It calls for "urgent steps to immediately allow safe, unhindered, and expanded humanitarian access and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities."

Amid global outrage over a rising Gaza death toll in 11 weeks of war between Israel and Hamas and a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave, the U.S. abstained to allow the 15-member council to adopt a resolution drafted by the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. and Israel oppose a cease-fire, believing it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and free hostages taken by Hamas.

After Hamas killed 1,200 people and captured 240 hostages on Oct. 7, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with an assault that has laid much of Hamas-ruled Gaza to waste.

Palestinian health authorities in Hamas-ruled Gaza say nearly 21,000 people have been killed in Israeli strikes, with more feared buried under rubble. Nearly all of Gaza's 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes, many several times.

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