As the humanitarian crisis in Gaza deepened with Israel cutting off power, fuel and water to the enclave, the State Department announced the appointment of Ambassador David Satterfield as the U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues.
U.S. Secretary Of State Antony Blinken said President Joe Biden appointed Satterfield to lead U.S. diplomacy to urgently address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, including work to facilitate the provision of life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people and promote the safety of civilians, in coordination with the United Nations and U.S. partners.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the former Ambassador’s diplomatic experience and decades of work navigating the some of the world’s most challenging conflicts will be instrumental in the U.S. effort to address humanitarian issues in the region
He will lead the U.S. government’S campaign to mitigate the humanitarian fallout of Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel, supporting efforts by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
His regional experience spans over forty years including assignments in Syria, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and two tours in Lebanon. He has served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, as Director of Arab and Arab-Israeli Affairs in the Department of State, and as Director for Near Eastern Affairs on the National Security Council Staff from 1993 to 1996, he worked primarily on the Arab-Israeli peace process.
He later served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey.
Since leaving government, Satterfield served as the director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
The 68-year-old veteran diplomat has served extensively in the Middle East, including the Persian Gulf area, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Satterfield assumes the new role at a time Israel is preparing for a ground attack into the thickly populated enclave and has warned more than a million people in northern Gaza to evacuate southwards.
Thousands of Palestinians are waiting at the Rafah border crossing to flee Gaza ahead of the Israeli ground offensive.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a potential “abyss in the Middle East,” as Gaza hospitals are overcrowded with hundreds of people injured in Israeli shelling.
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