The United States will execute “significant contributions” to reconstruct Gaza and resume its consulate in Jerusalem after the recent dispute between Israel and Hamas, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on the initial day of his first official visit to the area. Blinken, talking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, said the US would “work to ensure that Hamas does not benefit” from the comfort. Blinken’s meeting with Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials was considered the first stop on a journey to the Middle East. His visit occurs based on the most dangerous violence in years between Israel and Hamas. Israeli hits during the recent dispute killed at least 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, according to Hamas health officials. At least 12 people in Israel, including two children, were executed by Palestinian militant fire from Gaza, according to Israel’s military and the emergency service.
Israel and Hamas admitted to a ceasefire on Friday, after 11 days of the conflict. Speaking on Tuesday, Blinken said the “deaths on both sides in the conflict between Israel and Hamas were “profound. Casualties are often reduced to numbers. But behind every number is a human being a daughter, a son, a father, a mother, a grandparent, a best friend. And as the Talmud teaches, to lose a life is to lose the whole world, whether that life is Palestinian or Israeli,” Blinken said.
Blinken said he and Netanyahu had a comprehensive review of Israel’s security requirements, including re-supplying the Iron Dome aerial defense system with rocket interceptors. Blinken also spoke about the freedom of Israelis and Palestinians, who he said “equally deserve to live safely and securely, to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity, and democracy, to be treated with dignity,” but he did not particularly mention the two-state clarification or propose that comprehensive peace agreements were expected.
Netanyahu used the conference to push the US not to return to the Iran nuclear arrangement known as the JCPOA. He said the deal would let Iran produce nuclear weapons, and said Israel held the right to defend itself.
In reply, Blinken said only that Washington would “continue to consult” with Israel as implied talks between Iran and the US remain in Vienna, Austria. Biden government to revive US consulate in JerusalemBlinken also met with the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
After that meeting, Blinken declared that the Biden administration will be reopening the US consulate in Jerusalem and contributing 5.5 million dollars in quick disaster support to Gaza as well as an extra assistance to the Palestinian people. Blinken said that the commencement of the consulate, which was shut during the Trump administration and assists as the primary diplomatic post for US-Palestinian relations, is an essential way for the US to “engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people.”
“I am here to underscore the commitment of the US to rebuilding a relationship with the Palestinian Authority and with the Palestinian people,” the top US diplomat said. A relationship built on mutual respect and also a shared conviction that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity, and dignity. The US is working with the UN, the international community, the Palestinian Authority, and the Israeli government to assist in recovery and relief efforts in Gaza. Blinken said these efforts are “urgent.” Blinken said the US will operate with partners to be certain that Hamas does not serve from these reconstruction attempts.
“Asking all of us to help rebuild Gaza only makes sense if there is the confidence that what is rebuilt is not lost again because Hamas decides to launch more rocket attacks in the future,” he added. In addition to the fast disaster relief, the Biden government is providing 75 million dollars in development and economic aid to the Palestinians this year and 32 million dollars for UNRWA’s emergency humanitarian request. The Trump administration closed off economic support to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA and the Biden administration already vowed to recapitulate that support. Blinken also said the US embraces the ceasefire holding but said that is “not enough.” He said the final round of violence was indicative of a “larger set of issues that we have to discuss if we are going to prevent its occurrence.” He also conveyed the “deep condolences” of the US to the families of those who lost loved ones in violence.
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“I say this as a father, no child whether Israeli or Palestinian or American is a statistic. We know the human consequences when violence takes the upper hand and we are determined that that not be the case. The loss of any child is a universe of loss and in some ways incomprehensible except to those who suffered the loss,” Blinken said. Abbas acknowledged the Biden administration for the resumption of aid to UNRWA, for its promise to a two-state solution, and its stance on the development of settlements. He also said the Palestinian government stands willing to work on the reconstruction of Gaza and to build a national unity government.
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