Helena Lyng Blak
2 weeks ago

Secretary Blinken Says, “Now It’s On Hamas.”

Amid heightened tensions in Gaza, Secretary Blinken urges Hamas to accept ceasefire proposal.
Press conference with United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken on NPT. August 01, 2022, New York, USA. — Photo by thenews2.com
Press conference with United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken on NPT. August 01, 2022, New York, USA. — Photo by thenews2.com

On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, concluding his last days of meetings in the Middle East, discussing the current conflict in Gaza and its humanitarian and diplomatic consequences. 

Throughout the last couple of days, Blinken has been reiterating the US’ focus on providing humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza as well as getting a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and to secure the release of the Hamas-held hostages.

“Where our focus is right now with – along with the humanitarian effort, our focus right now is on getting a ceasefire and hostages home,” Blinken said on Tuesday, speaking to the press from Amman, Jordan. 

“That is the most urgent thing, and it’s also I think what is achievable, because the Israelis have put a strong proposal on the table.”

After his meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken seemingly remained optimistic about a ceasefire, saying, “Israel has made very important compromises in the proposal that’s on the table, demonstrating its desire, willingness to get this agreement, to get it done.”

Shifting his focus to Hamas, he said, “Now, as we’ve been saying, it’s on Hamas. Hamas has to decide whether it will take this deal and actually advance the situation for the people that it purports to care about in Gaza. There is no time for delay; there is no time for further haggling. The deal is there; they should take it.”

When asked about Netanyahu’s recent remarks—warning that Israel would enter Rafah with or without an agreement—Blinken responded that the US remains focused on achieving a ceasefire agreement, and “then something to build on.”

He further reiterated that the US “cannot, will not support a major military operation in Rafah absent an effective plan to make sure that civilians are not harmed.” He revealed that he had not seen such a plan, asserting his belief that there are better ways of dealing with Hamas than the military operation in Rafah, Israel has been threatening. 

“We’ve been talking with the Israelis about that; we’ll continue those conversations,” he said.

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