White House Appoints Special Envoy to Aid Middle East Humanitarian Efforts

White House Appoints Special Envoy to Aid Middle East Humanitarian Efforts
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Oct. 10, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House has appointed a special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues. According to a State Department press release from Oct. 15, the envoy will lead U.S. diplomatic efforts to address humanitarian needs in Gaza.

The former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, was appointed to the position, which will mainly focus on providing assistance to vulnerable people in the region and throughout the Middle East.

“He [Satterfield ] will lead a whole-of-government campaign to mitigate the humanitarian fallout of Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel, supporting critical efforts by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration,” the White House said in a statement.

According to national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Mr. Satterfield’s extensive experience in dealing with some of the world’s most challenging conflicts in the region will play a primary role in continuing efforts to tackle humanitarian issues.

“Ambassador Satterfield’s diplomatic experience and decades of work navigating … some of the world’s most challenging conflicts will be instrumental in our continued effort to address humanitarian issues in the region,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Mr. Satterfield is an official with over four decades of experience in the Middle East. He has carried out assignments in several Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia. He has also completed two tours in Lebanon, the State Department said.

Other assignments include serving as the acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, as well as the State Department’s director of Arab and Arab-Israeli affairs.

From 1993 to 1996, Mr. Satterfield served as the director for Near Eastern affairs on the National Security Council staff. During this time, he was actively involved in the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Since his time serving in U.S. government positions, Mr. Satterfield has been the director of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

The White House’s appointment of a special envoy coincides with Israel’s preparation for an on-the-ground offensive on Gaza, which is under the full control of the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas.

The surprise attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7 killed nearly 1,500 Israelis, including women and children. Hundreds, including many American citizens, are still being held hostage.

Israel has retaliated with airstrike counter-attacks on Gaza, which killed around 2,000 Palestinians, bringing the total amount of casualties to date to over 3,000.

Mr. Satterfield’s appointment comes as millions of civilians in Gaza are facing a worsening crisis in terms of food, water, and medical care. Thousands of hospital patients are at risk, as clinics are rapidly running out of fuel and basic supplies. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has also accused Hamas of blocking roads to prevent civilians in Gaza from fleeing ahead of an Israeli offensive targeting terrorist positions in northern Gaza.

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