Blinken discusses 'hostage proposal', humanitarian assistance for Gaza in meeting with Netanyahu

11 June,2024 08:35 AM IST |  Tel Aviv  |  ANI

Blinken will travel to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Qatar from June 10-12

Benjamin Netanyahu. Pic/AFP

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The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who is on a visit to the Middle East, held discussions regarding the hostage proposal, and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza in a meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

"Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. The Secretary reiterated that the United States and other world leaders will stand behind the comprehensive proposal outlined by President Biden that would lead to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages, and a significant and sustained increase in humanitarian assistance for distribution throughout Gaza," the US State Department said in an official release.

Blinken will travel to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Qatar from June 10-12. "The Secretary underscored the United States' ironclad commitment to Israel's security, including through ensuring October 7 can never be repeated," according to the State Department. However, he reiterated that the proposal on the table would unlock the possibility of calm along Israel's northern border.

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

Last week, Blinken spoke with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Israeli Minister Benny Gantz about Israel's proposal to achieve a full and complete ceasefire in Gaza. The US Secretary reiterated that, in addition to reuniting hostages with their loved ones, the proposal would advance Israel's long-term security interests, including by unlocking the possibility of calm along Israel's border with Lebanon that would allow Israelis to return to their home.

Direct talks between Israel and Hamas regarding the release of hostages were paused a while ago due to disagreements over certain terms. A statement from the group said that it had shown "flexibility and positivity in dealing with the efforts of the mediators throughout all previous rounds of indirect negotiations." Israel, Hamas said, had used the months of ongoing talks as a cover to continue its war in Gaza.

The conflict in Gaza escalated after the October 7 attack by Hamas, where about 2,500 terrorists breached the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip, leading to casualties and the seizure of hostages. Israel has since, characterised its Gaza offensive as targeting Hamas' infrastructure with the goal of eliminating the entire terror group while making efforts to minimize civilian casualties.

In a recent move, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution vote on the US proposal for a permanent ceasefire and release of the hostages in Gaza on Monday (local time). The US-drafted text calls for Hamas to accept a ceasefire proposal announced on May 31 by President Joe Biden that has already been accepted by Israel.

The resolution was notably adopted with 14 votes in favour, zero against, and one abstention by Russia, as the country chose not to exercise its veto power. The resolution that is adopted aims at reaching a comprehensive ceasefire deal in three phases.

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