The purpose of the Secretary of State’s visit to the region is to strengthen the truce concluded between the Israeli government and Hamas militants in Gaza.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday concluded a trip to the Middle East, which was dedicated to strengthening the ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Palestinian militants of the terrorist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Arriving in Jordan, Blinken noted the crucial role of King Abdullah of Jordan in facilitating the truce. He also congratulated Jordanians on the 75th anniversary of the kingdom’s independence, which is being celebrated this week, calling Jordan a “friend of America.”
“Friends support each other in difficult times, and I know that Jordan, like many of us, has had a difficult time recently,” Blinken said.
“The recent assistance provided by Jordan to end the conflict in Israel demonstrates the kingdom’s unquestionable role as a regional peacekeeping force, which is one of the reasons why our relationship is so strong and important,” Blinken told reporters after meeting with King Abdullah in Amman.
The Secretary of State added that the most urgent issue now is the provision of humanitarian assistance to the residents of Gaza, many of whom now do not have access to water and electricity.
“We must all come together to meet these urgent needs. In addition, assistance should be provided for reconstruction, restoration” of the affected infrastructure, Blinken added.
Speaking about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the Secretary of State stressed that “all parties can take steps to reduce tensions and build confidence and hope for the future.”
Blinken added that the situation in Gaza can only be resolved with the participation of all parties, including the UN, Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority.
Blinken arrived in Jordan, where about half of the 10 million residents are of Palestinian origin, from Egypt, where the Secretary of State met with the country’s leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.
On Wednesday morning, the Secretary of State arrived – for the second time on this trip – in Israel, where he first met with the country’s President, Reuven Rivlin.
“The Secretary of State and President Rivlin discussed options to promote coexistence and tolerance among all Israeli citizens, regardless of their background,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement,” and reaffirmed the importance of a strong partnership between the United States and Israel and the need to promote peace and stability.”
According to Price, Blinken invited Rivlin to visit the United States soon.
In talks with Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday, Blinken said he would ask Congress to allocate $ 75 million to help the Palestinians in Gaza.
“We know that the latest outbreak of violence was a symptom of broader problems that we need to address if we are going to prevent a repeat [of similar incidents], and that’s what we talked about today, “Blinken said.” We welcome the cease-fire that continues to be observed, but it’s not enough. We must build on the ceasefire agreement and try to move the process in a really positive direction.”
On Tuesday, Blinken also reiterated the Biden administration’s belief that a two-State solution “is the only way to truly guarantee the future of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. And, of course, to give the Palestinians the State to which they are entitled.”
He also added that the United States will reopen its office in Jerusalem, closed by the Trump administration in 2019, and will provide $ 5.5 million in emergency aid. In addition, more than $ 32 million will be transferred to the UN, which will provide humanitarian assistance to the victims in Gaza. At the same time, Blinken stressed that the administration will do everything possible to ensure that “Hamas does not benefit from these reconstruction efforts.”
Earlier in the day, the Secretary of State reiterated Israel’s right to defend itself during a visit to Jerusalem. Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Antony Blinken said Israel and the Palestinians had suffered “huge” losses during the fighting, adding that there was still much work to be done to restore “hope, respect, and trust.”
“The losses are often reduced to the numbers of the dead, but behind each of these numbers is a separate person – someone’s daughter, son, father, mother, grandparents, best friend, “Blinken said,” And, as the Talmud teaches, to lose a life is to lose the whole world, whether it is the life of a Palestinian or the life of an Israeli.”
Blinken also promised to help expand the economic opportunities of Palestinians in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, saying it would serve to establish greater stability, which would benefit both Palestinians and Israelis.
Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the United States for its support, warning the militants to respect the ceasefire. “If Hamas breaks the peace and attacks Israel, our response will be very powerful,” he said.