Blinken Meets with Palestinian Leader after Urging Israel to Spare Gaza Civilians
Israel continued its bombing campaign in Gaza while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held meetings with the head of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. As Blinken arrived, he was met by protesters displaying signs calling for an end to the ongoing violence and the liberation of Palestine. In addition to this, Blinken also engaged in discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, focusing on the urgent need for a ceasefire.
The conflict in Gaza, which was initiated by a Hamas attack on Israel, has tragically resulted in the loss of over 23,000 lives. Recognizing the severity of the situation, Blinken expressed deep concern over the humanitarian crisis and stressed the importance of taking measures to minimize civilian casualties. Despite these efforts, the war has persisted, with the Israeli army targeting terrorists and dismantling weapon caches in Gaza. Disturbingly, the Gaza health ministry reported 70 deaths and 130 injuries in overnight attacks alone. The United Nations estimates that a staggering 1.9 million Gazans have been displaced as a result of the conflict.
During his fourth tour of the Middle East, Blinken proposed a post-war scenario in which the Palestinian Authority would govern both Gaza and the West Bank. He emphasized the need for Israel to actively participate in achieving lasting peace and security. Encouragingly, Hamas has shown openness to the idea of a unified Palestinian administration in both regions. Furthermore, Blinken called for increased humanitarian aid to be provided to Gaza, recognizing the urgent need to alleviate the suffering of its people.
Amidst growing concerns of an escalating conflict between Israel and Iran-backed armed groups, Blinken engaged in discussions with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant regarding intensifying pressure on Iran. As part of his efforts to address the ongoing conflict, Blinken also reached out to regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to discuss potential diplomatic solutions. Recognizing the importance of regional cooperation, Blinken emphasized the need for all parties involved to engage in constructive dialogue and work towards a peaceful resolution. Additionally, he expressed the United States’ commitment to supporting the security and stability of the entire region, highlighting the significance of maintaining strong partnerships with key allies. In an effort to prevent further regional escalation, Blinken made a surprise visit to Bahrain, a key partner of the United States and home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.