Blinken tells Netanyahu US 'will stand behind' Gaza cease-fire proposal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during closed-door talks Monday that the Biden administration and other unspecified world leaders "will stand behind" a cease-fire agreement outlined by President Joe Biden.

During his meetings with Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Blinken "underscored the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, including through ensuring October 7 can never be repeated," referring to Hamas’ cross-border attack on that date, killing some 1,200 people. In its months-long offensive on Gaza, Israel has since killed over 37,000 people.

"The Secretary updated the prime minister on ongoing diplomatic efforts to plan for the post-conflict period, emphasizing the importance of those efforts to providing long-term peace, security, and stability to Israelis and Palestinians alike," spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

"Secretary Blinken also emphasized the importance of preventing the conflict from spreading," he added.

Blinken separately met with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and "commended Israel’s readiness to conclude a deal and affirmed that the onus is on Hamas to accept."

"He underscored the proposal would advance Israel’s long-term security interests, including by enabling the possibility of further integration in the region. He reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security," Miller said in a separate readout.

The "comprehensive" three-stage proposal would see a cease-fire implemented in the besieged Gaza Strip immediately, the phased release of hostages, and would lead to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the largely destroyed enclave. Reconstruction would also begin in a process that US officials estimate would take up to five years to complete. ​​​​​​​

On Saturday, the Israeli army freed four hostages during a military operation in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

During the operation, at least 274 Palestinians were killed and 700 others injured in a bombardment of the camp, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Since last Oct. 7, more than 37,100 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and nearly 84,700 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt