US opposes forcing Palestinians from Gaza, Blinken tells Egypt

US opposes forcing Palestinians from Gaza, Blinken tells Egypt
US opposes forcing Palestinians from Gaza, Blinken tells Egypt

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his talks also voiced gratitude for Egypt’s mediation of talks on reaching a temporary ceasefire in return for the release of hostages. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, May 10 — Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Egyptian counterpart yesterday that the United States opposes forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza, after Israel seized the border crossing at Rafah.

In a telephone call with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Blinken reaffirmed President Joe Biden’s “clear position that the United States does not support a major military operation in Rafah and the United States’ rejection of any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

Blinken “also expressed the United States’ support for the reopening of Rafah crossing and the continued flow of urgently needed humanitarian assistance,” Miller said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that Israel had raised its flag at the Rafah crossing, seizing from Hamas the primary border post into Egypt, as Israel defiantly threatens a ground operation into the packed city of Rafah.

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More than 1.4 million Palestinians have taken shelter in Rafah after half a year of war, and Israel has issued evacuation orders for the east of the city.

Since the October 7 attack by Hamas that triggered the war, a number of right-wing Israelis have mused about the possibility of relocating Palestinians out of Gaza, which is ruled by the militants.

Such suggestions have been met with anger by the Palestinian Authority as well as Arab countries who fear another major displacement in line with the flight of refugees after Israel’s 1948 creation.

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Blinken in his talks also voiced gratitude for Egypt’s mediation of talks on reaching a temporary ceasefire in return for the release of hostages.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said earlier that CIA Director Bill Burns, who has been heavily involved in the talks, was returning yesterday to the United States.

Kirby said that gaps between the sides “have not been closed” but that talks were ongoing, adding his departure “doesn’t mean we’re giving up hope.” — AFP

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