JERUSALEM – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed Israel’s right to defend itself when it visited Jerusalem on Tuesday as part of an effort to build on a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas late last week. came into force.
Speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blinken said that both Israel and the Palestinians had suffered “huge” losses during the fighting, and that there was a lot of work to be done to restore hope, respect and trust.
“Victims are often reduced to numbers, but behind each number is an individual – a daughter, a son, a father, a mother, a grandparent, a best friend,” Blinken said. as the Talmud teaches, is to lose the whole world, whether life is Palestinian or Israeli. “
Blinken said the United States would rally international support for reconstruction aid in Gaza with measures to ensure Hamas militants did not benefit. He also promised help to expand economic opportunities for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, saying it would provide a more stable environment that would benefit both Palestinians and Israelis.
Blinken was planning to make aid announcements later Tuesday when he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah.
Netanyahu thanked the United States for its support, while warning the militants to maintain a ceasefire.
“If Hamas breaks the calm and attacks Israel, our response will be very strong,” he said.
Iran’s nuclear deal
Netanyahu also voiced his opposition to the prospect of the United States rejoining the international agreement that restricted Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions easing. The Israeli leader has long been a critic of the agreement and on Tuesday reiterated his conviction that it “paves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy.”
The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, arguing that it gave Iran too much while not limiting its nuclear activity sufficiently.
US President Joe Biden was the country’s vice president when the agreement was marketed in 2015 between Iran and a group of world powers, which also includes Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. The parties argued that the agreement was the best way to ensure that Iran could not develop a nuclear weapon by requiring inspections of its nuclear facilities, limiting the amount of enriched uranium it could accumulate, limiting the level of enrichment and some of its nuclear infrastructure. broken down.
Stop in Egypt, Jordan
Blinken’s trip to the Middle East will include a visit to Egypt, which mediated the ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas-led Palestinian militants. He will meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.
Egyptian mediators traveled across the Gaza border and met with Abbas in an effort to maintain the ceasefire.
Blinken will end his trip with a stop in Amman to meet with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.
On May 10, Hamas fired rockets from Gaza at Israeli cities for what they believe are violations of rights committed by Israel against Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Israel has retaliated with targeted artillery and airstrikes on Hamas leaders and the group’s infrastructure. The international community has condemned Israel for blowing up high-rise buildings and conspicuous refugee camps and other targets, causing extensive civilian casualties, including women and children.