Internationally renowned artist Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye has taken a significant step in humanitarian aid, pledging four million meals to support people in Gaza through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). This gesture comes at a time when the region faces severe challenges, highlighting the crucial role of global solidarity in times of need.
A Generous Contribution Amidst Growing Needs
Tesfaye, serving as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, has allocated $2.5 million from his XO Humanitarian Fund to the WFP's efforts in Gaza. This substantial donation translates to four million emergency meals, equating to 820 metric tons of food parcels.
These parcels are set to benefit more than 173,000 Palestinians for two weeks, providing critical relief in a region where food security is a growing concern. The WFP has not specified the timeline for the aid's arrival in Gaza, but the need for assistance is urgent.
Corrine Fleisher, a regional director for the WFP, expressed gratitude for Tesfaye's contribution, stating, "We hope others will follow Abel’s example and support our efforts”. The WFP has reported that more than one million Palestinians in Gaza are on the verge of starvation, with the conflict that began on October 7 exacerbating an already dire situation.
Ongoing Commitment to Humanitarian Causes
Tesfaye's engagement with the WFP is not new. Since becoming a Goodwill Ambassador in 2021, he has actively supported various humanitarian initiatives. His XO Humanitarian Fund, established in partnership with WFP USA in 2022, has raised $5 million to date.
The first half of this fund was utilized to support emergency food assistance in Ethiopia, focusing on aid for women and children. The remainder is now allocated to address the crisis in Gaza.
The Broader Context: Truce Negotiations and Challenges
The possibility of extending the truce between Hamas and Israel has recently faced setbacks.
According to former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, the failure to provide names of women and children to be freed has led to a collapse in negotiations. Danon, a member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, highlighted the complexities of these negotiations, mentioning that Israel might continue engaging in hostage discussions with Hamas.
"We saw more than 100 hostages coming back to their families, mainly women and children. Unfortunately, Hamas chose to stop this kind of agreement we had with them. They were not willing to send us the names of the women and children," said Danon, a member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
"So, it's unfortunate. We resume the fight," he added. However, Danon refuted allegations in a New York Times report suggesting that the Israeli government had prior knowledge of a Hamas attack. He emphasized the constant threats faced by Israel and the challenges in predicting specific actions by Hamas.