U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed the Biden administration’s support for a new extension of the cease-fire agreement in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Blinken’s goal is to secure the release of additional hostages held by Hamas and to increase the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
As he prepared for his third visit to the region since the conflict began, Blinken emphasized the importance of discussing future governance in Gaza once Israel achieves its stated goal of eradicating Hamas. However, Israel and Arab nations have been resistant to engaging in such discussions, with Israeli officials focusing on the immediate conflict and Arab leaders prioritizing an end to the fighting and the protection of Palestinian civilians.
Blinken’s efforts come as the current cease-fire agreement is set to expire, prompting discussions about its extension and the potential for additional hostages to be released. He also stressed the need to address both short-term logistical planning and long-term governance issues in Gaza.
Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intentions to restart military operations after the current cease-fire ends, President Joe Biden has expressed a desire for the pause to continue as long as possible. Both Biden and Blinken have emphasized the importance of planning for post-conflict Gaza and the eventual creation of an independent Palestinian state.
Ultimately, Blinken believes that pursuing these objectives can lead to enduring peace and security, ensuring Israel’s strength as a democratic, Jewish state while also respecting the Palestinians’ aspirations for statehood and self-determination.
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