RAMALLAH, West Bank — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduced his diplomatic push on the Israel-Hamas war to the occupied West Bank on Sunday, assembly with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas within the Biden administration’s newest effort to ease civilian struggling within the Gaza Strip and begin to sketch out a post-conflict situation for the territory.
On a cease not introduced upfront, Blinken traveled to Ramallah in an armored motorcade and below tight safety. His go to got here simply hours after Israeli planes struck a refugee camp in Gaza, killing at the very least 40 individuals in response to well being officers there.
Despite the secrecy and the U.S. State Department’s refusal to verify the journey till after Blinken had left the West Bank, Palestinians turned out to protest U.S. assist for Israel’s conflict in Gaza as phrase of his arrival leaked. Demonstrators held indicators exhibiting dripping blood and with messages that included, “Blinken blood is in your arms.”
Neither man spoke as they greeted one another in entrance of cameras and their assembly ended with none public remark.
A senior American official touring with Blinken harassed what the official mentioned was the U.S. dedication to urgent Israel to guard civilians in Gaza, enhance humanitarian assist provides and rein in and punish surging violence by extremist Jewish settlers towards Palestinians within the West Bank.
Blinken additionally informed Abbas that the U.S. was pushing Israel to totally restore suspended tax remittance transfers to the Palestinian Authority. Those funds had been partially unblocked final week, however the Palestinians need the entire quantity. In addition, Blinken mentioned the U.S. envisions the Palestinian Authority as “taking part in a central function” in any post-Hamas administration in Gaza, in response to the official, who spoke to reporters on situation of anonymity to element non-public discussions.
But Abbas mentioned the Palestinian Authority would solely assume energy in Gaza as a part of a “complete political resolution” to the Israeli-Palestinian battle, in response to the Palestinians’ official WAFA information company. Abbas condemned Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as a “genocidal conflict” and urged Blinken “to instantly cease them from committing such crimes,” the company reported.
He known as for a right away cession of the conflict, and the supply of humanitarian assist and gas, and the restoration of water and electrical energy in Gaza. The Palestinian chief mentioned “army and safety options” wouldn’t deliver safety to Israel, and insisted that “safety and peace” could be achieved solely by way of ending Israel’s occupation and establishing a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 Mideast conflict borders with east Jerusalem its capital, in response to the Palestinian information company’s account of the assembly.
Earlier, the U.S. State Department mentioned Blinken reaffirmed the U.S. dedication to the supply of humanitarian help and the resumption of important providers in Gaza and made clear that Palestinians should not be forcibly displaced.
The assembly with Abbas, whose Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority has not been a consider Gaza since Hamas took it over by drive in 2007, got here at the beginning of Blinken’s third day of his newest Mideast mission, his second because the shock Hamas assault towards Israel on Oct. 7. Blinken visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday earlier than meeting in Jordan with Arab ministers Saturday.
At every cease, Blinken has provided agency U.S. assist for Israel’s proper to defend itself but additionally harassed that it should adhere to the legal guidelines of conflict, shield civilians and enhance humanitarian assist provides to Gaza. To try this, in addition to to ease the stream of foreigners fleeing Gaza, he has made the case that Israel ought to implement rolling humanitarian pauses to its airstrikes and floor operations, one thing that Netanyahu has so far flatly rejected.
The Arab overseas ministers with whom Blinken met in Amman – from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates – issued the identical demand. But Blinken mentioned the U.S. wouldn’t push for one.
U.S. officers imagine that Netanyahu might soften his opposition if he could be satisfied that it’s in Israel’s strategic pursuits to ease the plight of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The hovering loss of life toll amongst Palestinians — greater than 9,700, in response to officers of Gaza’s Hamas-run well being ministry — has sparked rising worldwide anger, with tens of thousands from Washington to Berlin taking to the streets over the weekend to demand a right away cease-fire.
Arab states are resisting American recommendations that they play a bigger function in resolving disaster, expressing outrage on the civilian toll of the Israeli army operations however believing Gaza to be an issue largely of Israel’s personal making.