Blinken seeks common front in Israel after Arab tourBreaking

October 16, 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was returning Monday to Israel after talks in six Arab states, hoping to coordinate efforts against Hamas while finding ways to alleviate Gaza’s looming humanitarian crisis. Just four days after his visit to Tel Aviv to show solidarity, Blinken was expected to meet Israeli leaders as Israel prepares a major ground operation in the Gaza Strip. The trip comes as President Joe Biden reportedly considers an invitation to visit Israel to demonstrate the US leader described as ‘unwavering solidarity’. Israel has declared war on Hamas after its fighters broke through the heavily fortified border and kill more than 1,400 people. Israel has responded with relentless bombing, killing at least 2,670 people, the majority ordinary Palestinians, in the blockaded and impoverished Gaza Strip. US officials say Blinken heard wide opposition to Hamas from leaders during his tour but also concern on the plight of the Palestinians. “I made clear that it cannot be - must not be — business as usual with Hamas going forward,” Blinken said in Cairo.

“And at the same time, as I said, we’re determined to do everything we can to address the needs of people in Gaza,” he said. “Civilians should not have to suffer for Hamas’s atrocities.” Under US pressure, Israel on Sunday resumed the supply of water to the southern Gaza Strip after earlier vowing to keep out all supply of food, water and energy to the densely populated territory. The United States also named a coordinator to spearhead humanitarian relief into Gaza, retired ambassador David Satterfield, who was expected to arrive in Israel on Monday. The Biden administration has said that Israel has a right to respond. But it has also warned against more extreme measures such as mass expulsion of Palestinians, a prospect feared by Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas, a Hamas rival based in the West Bank. Biden, in an interview aired Sunday with the CBS News show “60 Minutes,” cautioned of dangers in any bid by Israel to reoccupy Gaza.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan (INP)