Blinken expresses concern over a potential Israeli ceasefire in Gaza.
Emphasis on Israel taking measures to prevent civilian casualties.
Talks with Arab leaders call for an end to the conflict.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during his visit to Jordan, expressed concern that an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza might allow Hamas to regroup and launch further attacks.
Nevertheless, he emphasized the importance of Israel taking all possible measures to prevent civilian casualties in the region.
Blinken’s comments came after discussions with Arab leaders, who are urgently calling for an end to the ongoing conflict and have accused Israel of committing war crimes.
“We don’t accept that it is a self-defenses,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said at a news conference with Mr. Blinken following the talks, which also involved Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
The US continues to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas.
Mr. Safadi described the conflict as a “raging war that is killing civilians, destroying their homes, their hospitals, their schools, their mosques and their churches.”
“It cannot be justified under any pretext and it will not bring Israel security, it will not bring the region peace.”
Fears have arisen that the conflict could potentially involve other regional players, resulting in the destabilization of the Middle East.
Antony Blinken, who has advocated for humanitarian breaks in the hostilities rather than an immediate ceasefire, noted that although the US and Arab leaders may have differences in their approaches to achieving lasting peace in the region, their ultimate objective remains the same.
“We all understand that we not only have an interest, but a responsibility to do everything we can to chart a better path forward together,” he said.
Israel initiated airstrikes in Gaza following surprise attacks by Hamas on October 7, in which more than 1,400 people in Israel were killed.
Over 200 people were kidnapped, with most still believed to be held as hostages. The Hamas-run health ministry reports at least 9,488 people killed in Gaza.
Antony Blinken’s visit to Jordan occurred a day after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stated that there would be no humanitarian pause until all Israeli hostages are released.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have concentrated their offensive in the northern part of Gaza, urging civilians to evacuate.
Despite repeated warnings to leave, approximately 400,000 civilians remain in the area, according to David Satterfield, the US special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues.
The IDF has also conducted strikes in the south, and the United Nations has cautioned that no part of Gaza is safe.
Blinken emphasized the urgent need to significantly increase the aid entering Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah crossing.
Currently, only limited deliveries are reaching Gaza, weeks after Israel imposed a siege, cutting off power, food, and water supplies.
In addition to Jordan, Blinken also met with Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, to discuss violence along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel, where there have been frequent clashes involving the Shia Islamist group Hezbollah and the Israeli military.
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has refrained from calling for an escalation of attacks against Israel but has not ruled out further action.
Antony Blinken is scheduled to travel to Turkey on Sunday for a two-day visit to speak with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the ongoing conflict. This visit follows Ankara’s recall of its ambassador to Israel and the suspension of contact with Prime Minister Netanyahu in protest against the bloodshed.
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