newsU.S.-Israel Relations

Samantha Power to visit Israel for Gaza aid talks

The USAID head last visited the region five months ago.

Samantha Power, USAID administrator, speaks at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 1, 2023. Photo by Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
Samantha Power, USAID administrator, speaks at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 1, 2023. Photo by Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

Samantha Power, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, is set to visit Israel later this week for meetings on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

Power’s trip will also include discussions with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas and Sigrid Kaag, the U.N.’s senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza.

Power last visited Israel and the region some five months ago. During a Feb. 26-27 stopover in Amman, Jordan, she announced an additional $53 million in U.S. humanitarian aid to the World Food Program and nonprofits for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria.

In May, Power repeatedly slammed the Jewish state in a call with donor countries, during which she mentioned Hamas terrorism only once.

“I just want to start by saying that our hearts, of course, go out with those mourning their loved ones this week after Israel’s strike in Rafah on Sunday killed at least 45 people, many of whom were in tent camps seeking refuge from the violence,” she said during the call.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf will also visit Israel this week, as part of a regional swing that started on Monday, the State Department previously announced.

In her visits with officials in the Jewish state, as well as in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Italy, Leaf will discuss “continued diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire agreement, secure the release of all hostages and ensure humanitarian assistance is distributed throughout Gaza,” Foggy Bottom stated. “She will also have further discussions on the post-conflict period in a way that builds lasting peace and security.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk held a series of discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The visits of the Biden administration officials come as several U.S. sources told AP that the Pentagon was pulling the plug on a Gaza aid pier that has been beset with problems since it began operations in May.

The pier was set to be reinstalled on Wednesday to clear out the remaining aid that piled up in Cyprus and get it to the Gaza shore before the project is dismantled permanently, the officials said.

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