update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

US ambassador tours Gaza aid situation room

The IDF's Humanitarian Coordination and Deconfliction Cell was established following the accidental deaths of seven aid workers in Gaza.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew (second left) and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant tour the IDF's Humanitarian Coordination and Deconfliction Cell in Beersheva, April 7, 2024. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew (second left) and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant tour the IDF's Humanitarian Coordination and Deconfliction Cell in Beersheva, April 7, 2024. Photo by Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew on Sunday paid a visit to the Israel Defense Forces’ Humanitarian Coordination and Deconfliction Cell, which was established following the accidental deaths of seven aid workers, including an American citizen, in the Gaza Strip.

Accompanied by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Lew toured the new situation room at IDF Southern Command headquarters in Beersheva. The ambassador was briefed by senior IDF officials on measures being taken to accelerate the inspection, transfer and distribution of aid for residents of the Gaza Strip.

Lew and Gallant spoke about measures “to increase the number of access points for the delivery of aid by land and sea, to improve infrastructure and routes necessary for the delivery of aid and to streamline security inspections,” according to a Defense Ministry readout.

The two men also attended a briefing at the Southern Command headquarters focused on operational plans for future IDF operations aimed at destroying the remaining Hamas terror battalions and infrastructure in Gaza.

“I would like to express my appreciation to the U.S. administration for their longstanding support during this war, and for their leadership on the humanitarian issue as it pertains both to the hostage issue and to aid being delivered to Gaza,” Gallant said, according to the Israeli readout.

“We recognize the importance of facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. I have instructed the defense establishment to allocate the resources required to facilitate an influx of aid and close coordination with international organizations and key partners,” the defense minister added.

Gallant said Jerusalem was “working closely with the U.S. ambassador and U.S. officials on this issue.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on Tuesday issued an official apology for the accidental killing of seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers in Deir al-Balah as they delivered humanitarian aid to Gaza a day earlier.

“I want to be very clear—the strike was not carried out with the intention of harming WCK aid workers. It was a mistake that followed a misidentification, at night during a war in very complex conditions. It shouldn’t have happened,” Halevi said in an English-language video message.

Following an operational assessment, Gallant instructed Southern Command to open a joint situation room to coordinate with aid groups.

The Coordination and Deconfliction Cell, which opened on Tuesday, will help “facilitate the delivery of aid in a manner that will enable the IDF to continue operating against Hamas terrorism, while also ensuring the security of aid workers,” the Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

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