Blinken says Netanyahu ‘reaffirmed commitment’ to Gaza ceasefire plan

Blinken says Netanyahu ‘reaffirmed commitment’ to Gaza ceasefire plan
Blinken says Netanyahu ‘reaffirmed commitment’ to Gaza ceasefire plan

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - This handout photo released by the US State Department on June 10, 2024, shows US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on June 10, 2024. — Chuck Kennedy/US State Department/AFP

TEL AVIV, June 11 — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said today that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment” to a Gaza ceasefire proposal during their meeting in Jerusalem.

“I met with Prime Minister Netanyahu last night and he reaffirmed his commitment to the proposal,” Blinken said, adding that Hamas’s welcoming of a UN vote on the US-drafted ceasefire resolution was a “hopeful” sign.

“It is a hopeful sign, just as the statement issued after the president (Joe Biden) made his proposal 10 days ago was hopeful,” Blinken said.

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“But it’s not dispositive,” he said, demanding a formal commitment. “What is dispositive... is the word coming from Gaza and from the Hamas leadership in Gaza. And that’s what counts. And that’s what we don’t have.

“We await the answer from Hamas,” he added.

Blinken suggested that Hamas may be waiting for a decision by its leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, whom Israel accuses of being the mastermind of the October 7 attack.

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“Are they looking after one guy who may be for now safe — buried, I don’t know, 10 storeys underground somewhere in Gaza — while the people that he purports to represent continue to suffer in a crossfire of his own making?” Blinken said.

Israel meanwhile has also yet to formally announce that it has accepted the ceasefire proposal, which was revealed by Biden on May 31.

Biden presented what he labelled an Israeli three-phase plan that would end the conflict, free all hostages and lead to the reconstruction of the devastated Palestinian territory without Hamas in power.

Shortly after Biden unveiled the plan, Netanyahu said the roadmap was only “partial”.

Blinken in Jordan reiterated that Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his support and his commitment to bringing this proposal across the finish line”.

Hamas said on Monday it “welcomes” the UN Security Council’s vote to adopt a resolution backing the ceasefire plan.

But the Palestinian militant group has insisted its demands be met, including a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory, which Israel has rejected.

Blinken also said that the military approach was not always “sufficient, and there has to be a clear political plan, a clear humanitarian plan to ensure that Hamas does not in any way, shape or form (remain) in control of Gaza and that Israel can move forward toward more enduring security”. — AFP

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