Palestinian humanitarian needs in focus at Jordan meeting as US pushes for Israel-Hamas cease-fire « Khabarhub
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Palestinian humanitarian needs in focus at Jordan meeting as US pushes for Israel-Hamas cease-fire


11 June 2024  

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NEW YORK: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to a proposed multi-stage cease-fire in Gaza, and that Hamas is the only one yet to agree to the plan.

“Everyone’s vote is in, except for one vote, and that’s Hamas’,” Blinken told reporters in Tel Aviv. “It is on Hamas to move forward with this proposal or not.”

Blinken said the U.N. Security Council’s approval of a U.S.-drafted resolution calling on Israel and Hamas to implement the cease-fire deal “made it as clear as it possibly could be that this is what the world is looking for.”

After the 14-0 vote Monday, with Russia abstaining, Hamas issued a statement welcoming that the council has “affirmed a permanent cease-fire in Gaza” and indicating a willingness to engage in indirect negotiations over implementing the principles “that are consistent with the demands of our people and resistance.”

Blinken said Tuesday that response “is a hopeful sign.” But he added that what counts now is “the word coming from Gaza and from the Hamas leadership in Gaza.”

“We await the answer from Hamas, and that will speak volumes about what they want, what they’re looking for, who they’re looking after.”

Blinken spoke after meeting with Benny Gantz, who left Netanyahu’s emergency government Sunday while saying Netanyahu is mismanaging the war, and with opposition leader Yair Lapid. Both Gantz and Lapid stressed the need to secure a deal, in comments posted on X after their talks with Blinken.

The top U.S. diplomat also met briefly with family members of some of the hostages held in Gaza.

Blinken said the United States is determined to bring home the hostages, and that the proposed cease-fire is “the best way to do that.”

He was set to take part later Tuesday in a meeting in Jordan focusing on how to boost the international community’s humanitarian response for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who are badly in need of help after eight months of war.

In its initial phase, the three-phase cease-fire proposal calls for a halt in fighting, the release of some hostages from Gaza, the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, a surge in humanitarian aid for Palestinians, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from populated areas of Gaza, and the return of Palestinian civilians to their homes and neighborhoods.

The second phase envisions a permanent cessation of hostilities in exchange for the release of all other hostages in Gaza and a full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza. The final phase includes a multiyear reconstruction plan for the Gaza Strip, much of which has been devastated by eight months of Israeli bombardment. It would also provide for the return of the remains of any deceased hostages still in Gaza.

The October 7 Hamas terror attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,200 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to official Israeli figures. Hamas militants took about 250 hostages, 116 of whom remain in the Palestinian territory, including 41 the army says are dead.

Israel’s military response has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its figures.

VOA

Publish Date : 11 June 2024 17:47 PM

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