U.S. Blinken meets Israeli Netanyahu to consolidate ceasefire in Gaza
May 25 2021
The conflict started after clashes in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He said the USA would work to rally worldwide support around that effort and make its own "significant contributions", which would be announced later in the day.
Blinken said in a weekend interview with CNN that Palestinians and Israelis deserve "equal means of opportunity, security and dignity", and the administration is now focusing on "building something more positive".
In the night of Sunday to Monday, Israeli forces rounded up 43 Palestinians in a crackdown in occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said. Netanyahu faces mounting criticism from Israelis who say he ended the offensive prematurely, without forcibly halting Palestinian rocket attacks or dealing a heavier blow to Gaza's militant Hamas rulers.
He noted that the recent confrontation between Hamas and Israel caused humanitarian disaster. Protests were directed at Israeli police in the area during the holy Ramadan month of Muslims and the threatened expulsion of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers.
Tension in the region is still high. The evictions were put on hold just before the Gaza fighting erupted, but the legal process is set to resume in the coming weeks.
An Israeli soldier and a civilian were stabbed near a light rail station in east Jerusalem on Monday before the assailant was shot and killed by police, who described it as a terrorist attack.
Palestinian news agency WAFA said that Israeli forces had shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian high school student from occupied east Jerusalem. Pictures circulating online appeared to show the man bloodied and lying in the street.
"We'll work with our partners closely, with all, to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance", Blinken said following talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. A crowd of Al-Aqsa worshipers chanted in support of Hamas in opposition to his Palestinian Authorityon Friday. "He will engage other key partners in the region, including on the coordinated global effort to ensure immediate assistance reaches Gaza in a way that benefits the people there and not Hamas, and on reducing the risk of further conflict in the coming months", said the president.
Blinken will also visit neighboring Egypt and Jordan, which made peace with Israel decades ago and acted as mediators of the conflict.
Biden faced an unusual amount of pressure from members of the progressive wing of the Democrat Party over the U.S.'s support of Israel. Sen.
The administration was roundly criticized for its perceived first response to deadly violence, such as from a parliamentary democratic ally who demanded that Israel take a stricter path. Biden reaffirmed what he said was Israel's right to protect himself from rocket attacks from Gaza.
The administration has defended its response by saying it engaged in intense, but quiet, high-level diplomacy to support a ceasefire, which was ultimately arranged last week after Egyptian mediation.
He said the time is not right for an immediate resumption in negotiations between the two sides but that steps could be taken - mainly humanitarian initiatives - to fix damage from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, which caused significant damage to civilian infrastructure and deaths. Human rights groups see it as a form of collective punishment.