Blinken arrives in Israel to secure Gaza ceasefire with Hamas
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Israel on Tuesday morning for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials aimed at ensuring the continuation of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire in Gaza and the reconstruction of the Strip. bypassing the terrorist organization.
“Leave for Jerusalem today,” Blinken tweeted Monday evening. âEven as we worked with the parties and partners to help achieve a ceasefire, we were also focused on the way forward, including the steps we could take to build a better future for the Israelis and the Palestinians. â
– Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel (@IsraelMFA) May 25, 2021
The Secretary of State will meet with Netanyahu, then Netanyahu and Ashkenazi, followed by a meeting with Ashkenazi alone, then with diplomats from the Foreign Ministry, as well as Ambassador to the United States Gilad Erdan. He is also expected to meet with President Reuven Rivlin.
Blinken plans to continue to Ramallah and Egypt, which has negotiated the truce.
US President Joe Biden issued a statement that “during his trip, Secretary Blinken will meet with Israeli leaders regarding our absolute commitment to Israel’s security.”
“He will continue our administration’s efforts to rebuild ties with and support the Palestinian people and leadership after years of neglect,” Biden added. “And it will engage other key partners in the region, including in the coordinated international effort to ensure that immediate assistance reaches Gaza in a way that benefits the local population and not Hamas, and to reduce the risk.” new conflicts in the months to come. â
âThe most important thing is that the ceasefire holds,â a senior State Department official said of the trip. “It is extremely important that this is the case – we do not want to see a return to the heartbreaking bloodshed during the 11 days of conflict, and we are looking for ways to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians.”
The official was also asked what could be done to ensure that the aid money was not diverted to Hamas.
âWe will work in partnership with the UN and the Palestinian Authority to channel aid in a way that does its best to reach the people of Gaza,â he said.
“We will do all we can to ensure that this help reaches the people who need it most,” added the official. âOur main focus is to ensure that the ceasefire is respected.
“We, and other donors, are trying to structure things in a way that diminishes the capacity of Hamas, strengthens the people of Gaza [and] is starting a process of reintroducing and hopefully reintegrating the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and is in partnership with the United Nations, âhe said.
âThe United States remains committed to the two-state solution: it remains the vision of the United States,â the official noted. “We are in no way renouncing it.”
Blinken’s visit also comes just ahead of a fifth round of indirect negotiations between the United States and Iran to revert to the 2015 deal with Iran, and Israeli officials plan to raise the issue during their meetings with him.
Netanyahu said Israel may have to act without the United States to protect itself from the Iranian nuclear threat.
“The main mission of each of you is to prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear weapon: it is the supreme mission,” Netanyahu said at award ceremony for outstanding officers from Mossad on Monday.
While Netanyahu has said that he “values ââour friend the United States very much,” he said that “ensuring that the Ayatollahs do not end the thousands of years of existence of the Jewish people will require us to take courageous and independent decisions.
“With or without an agreement, we will do everything to prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear weapon – because it is our existence,” he said.