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David Satterfield to step down as US envoy for Gaza aid

Satterfield will be replaced by Lise Grande, the president and CEO of the Washington-based US Institute of Peace, and is expected to stay on as a senior adviser.
US Ambassador David M. Satterfield (L), Special Adviser, Coordinator for Iraq, Ambassador Richard J. Griffin (C), Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Diplomatic Security and Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, and William H. Moser (R), Deputy Assistant Secretary for Logistics Management, testify before the House House Oversight and Government Reform full Committee hearing on "Private Security Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan," focusing on the mission and performance of Blackwater USA and its affiliate

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration’s point person for humanitarian issues in the Gaza Strip, David Satterfield, will leave his post at the end of the week but stay on as a senior adviser, two sources familiar with the plans told Al-Monitor. 

Satterfield will be replaced by Lise Grande, the president and CEO of the Washington-based US Institute of Peace. Prior to joining USIP in 2020, Grande headed the United Nations’ humanitarian operations in Yemen and served as deputy head of the UN’s political mission in Iraq during the campaign against the Islamic State. 

Satterfield, a former US ambassador to Turkey and director of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, was appointed to head up humanitarian efforts a week after Israel launched its counteroffensive in response to Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Oct. 7. 

A source said Satterfield is leaving the position after roughly six months on the job because of a statutory requirement that special envoys get Senate confirmation after 180 days. The Huffington Post first reported on his departure. 

Humanitarian assistance has been slow to reach Gaza, even as US and UN officials sound the alarm over catastrophic levels of hunger and a looming famine in the coastal enclave. Following the deadly Israeli strike on a World Central Kitchen aid convoy in early April, Israel pledged to facilitate more aid access, including by opening the Erez crossing into northern Gaza.

Satterfield told reporters Tuesday that the volume of humanitarian assistance reaching Gaza has increased significantly in recent weeks but “much more aid is needed.” An average of 200 aid trucks are now arriving daily — more than in previous months but below the prewar average of 500 per day.

This is a developing story and will be updated.