PARIS — Officials from Western and Arab nations, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations are gathering Thursday in Paris for a conference on how to provide aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s war with Hamas, including proposals for a humanitarian maritime corridor and floating field hospitals.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has called for a “humanitarian pause” in the war, wants the conference to address the besieged Palestinian enclave’s growing needs including food, water, health supplies, electricity and fuel.
Over 50 nations are expected to attend including several European countries, the United States and regional powers like Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf countries, the French presidency said. Also attending is Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.
Israeli authorities won’t participate in Thursday’s conference, the Elysee said.
The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, the U.N.’s top aid official and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross are expected to provide details about urgent needs in the Gaza Strip.
More than 1.5 million people — or about 70% of Gaza’s population — have fled their homes, and an estimated $1.2 billion is needed to respond to the crisis in Palestinian areas.
Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides will present his plan for a humanitarian sea corridor to Gaza which he has said aims for a “sustained, secure high-volume flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza in the immediate, medium and long term.” Ships would deliver the aid from Cyprus’ main port of Limassol, some 255 miles away (410 kilometers.)
French officials said they are also considering evacuating injured people onto hospital ships in the Mediterranean off the Gaza coast. Paris sent a helicopter carrier off the Cyprus coast and is preparing another with medical capacities on board for that purpose.
Thursday’s discussions will also include financial support and other ways to help Gaza’s civilians.
France is expected to announce some additional funding. Since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, Paris has provided an additional 20 million euros ($21.4 million) in humanitarian aid for Gaza, through the U.N. and other partners and sent 54 tons of aid via three flights to Egypt.
On Tuesday, the German government said it will provide 20 million euros in new funding, in addition to releasing 71 million euros already earmarked for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees following a review it launched after the Hamas attack.
European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are also attending the conference. The 27-nation bloc is the world’s top aid supplier to the Palestinians. It has sent almost 78 million euros this year.
Associated Press writers Geir Moulson in Berlin and Menelaos Hadjicostis in Nicosia, Cyprus, contributed to this report.