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Gaza Ceasefire Talks: Blinken’s Intense Negotiations with Netanyahu Amidst Hostage Standoff

Gaza Ceasefire Talks

Blinken meets with Netanyahu to push for a ceasefire in Gaza again

JerusalemUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been working to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and bring home hostages held by Hamas. He has emphasized the need for humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza while urging Hamas to accept ceasefire offers.

Blinken has met with Israeli and Jordanian officials to discuss aid efforts and has praised international cooperation in delivering assistance to the region. The ongoing conflict in Gaza has resulted in a high number of casualties, with efforts being made to prioritize civilian safety and address the humanitarian crisis.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday (May 1), while Gaza ceasefire talks continued in Cairo to resolve Israel’s conflict with Gaza.

Key Concepts

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is working to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Gaza ceasefire talks are ongoing in Cairo, but Hamas militants have not accepted the terms.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for military action in Rafah to eliminate Hamas fighters.
  • Blinken emphasized the need to prioritize civilian safety in any military operation in Rafah.
  • The Gaza Health Ministry reported a high number of casualties, with many being women and children.
  • Blinken met with Jordanian officials to discuss humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza.
  • The United Nations is providing ongoing support for the people of Gaza.
  • Hamas is believed to still be holding hostages and the bodies of other hostages.

U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken “stressed that it was Hamas that was blocking the ceasefire.” Hamas militants have so far refused to accept a plan calling for a ceasefire of several weeks in the nearly seven-month-old war, and Hamas has failed to release hostages it is holding in exchange for the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

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Although Blinken blamed Hamas for failing to reach a ceasefire, Mueller said Blinken told Netanyahu that the United States remained opposed to the Israeli leader’s call for a ground offensive in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, where Israel says it plans to wipe out The remaining four battalions of Hamas fighters took root.

“We cannot and will not support major military action in Rafah without an effective plan to ensure civilians are not harmed,” Blinken told a news conference in Ashdod, Israel. “No, we have not seen that. plan. In the meantime, in our judgment, there are other, better ways to deal with Hamas’s real and ongoing challenges that do not involve or require significant military action in Rafah.”

The United States, the United Nations, and many world officials have expressed opposition to the offensive against Rafah, where more than a million Palestinian refugees have taken refuge, many of whom were ordered by the Israeli military to flee there in the first weeks from their homes in northern Gaza.

Netanyahu said the Rafah offensive is necessary to achieve Israel’s goal of eliminating Hamas’s control of Gaza and is imperative regardless of whether a ceasefire and hostage release agreement are reached with Hamas.

“Hamas must decide whether to accept this deal and make real improvements to the conditions of the people of Gaza it claims to care about,” Blinken said. “There is no time to delay. There is no time to bargain. The deal is there. They should accept it.”

If Hamas doesn’t agree to a ceasefire, he said, “I think it’s further proof that it doesn’t care about the Palestinian people at all.”

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Cairo has been hosting talks involving U.S., Egyptian, and Qatari mediators and has put forward the latest ceasefire proposal. Blinken also continued to stress more humanitarian aid to Gaza to feed hungry Palestinians.

“At the same time, as we work steadfastly to achieve a ceasefire and return hostages home, we must also focus on the people of Gaza who are suffering in the crossfire created by Hamas,” Blinken said Wednesday. Trucks carrying humanitarian aid entered northern Gaza for the first time through Erez, Israel’s new entry point.

The top U.S. diplomat has repeatedly called on Hamas to accept ceasefire offers during visits to the region, including earlier visits to Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Blinken also met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who said repatriating hostages held by Hamas “is and should be a top priority for the international community.”

After meeting with Herzog, Blinken spoke to demonstrators outside who held signs and chanted slogans calling for Gaza’s hostages to be brought home.

Blinken told demonstrators that he had met with the hostages’ families and told them, “Bringing our loved ones home is at the heart of everything we do.”

It is believed that after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostages, it is still holding about 100 hostages and the bodies of about 30 hostages.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza has killed more than 34,500 people, about two-thirds of whom were women and children. Israel said the death toll included thousands of Hamas militants it had killed.

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Blinken met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and King Abdullah II on Tuesday before meeting with Sigrid Kaag, the United Nations senior coordinator for humanitarian and reconstruction in Gaza. Sigrid Kaag).

Blinken thanked Abdullah for his leadership in facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, including joint U.S. and Jordanian airdrops that have so far delivered more than 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

The two leaders discussed working together to expedite the delivery of more much-needed aid overland from Jordan to Gaza. Blinken also praised Abdullah II’s commitment to economic modernization and important public sector reforms.

Later Tuesday, Blinken met with Palestinians from Gaza at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and then met with Kagg. Blinken told Kaag that he had previously been eager to communicate directly with her, adding, “The entire team is doing a great job to ensure that the people of Gaza receive the help and support they need.”

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