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

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is on a visit to the Middle East, discussed the hostage proposal and the issue of delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza in a meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister on Monday.

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The US State Department said in an official release, “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem today. The Secretary of State reiterated that the United States and other world leaders will stand behind the comprehensive proposal outlined by President Biden, which will 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.”

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

According to the State Department, “The Secretary underscored the United States' steadfast commitment to Israel's security, including to ensuring that the events of October 7 are never repeated.”

However, he reiterated that the proposal would open up the possibility for peace on Israel's northern border.

The State Department further said, “The Secretary briefed the Prime Minister on ongoing diplomatic efforts to plan for the post-conflict period and emphasized the importance of those efforts to provide long-term peace, security, and stability for both Israelis and Palestinians. Secretary Blinken also emphasized the importance of preventing the conflict from spreading.”

Last week, Blinken spoke with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant and Israeli Minister Benny Gantz about Israel's proposal for a full ceasefire in Gaza.

The US Secretary of State reiterated that in addition to reuniting hostages with their loved ones, the proposal would also promote Israel's long-term security interests, including promoting the prospects for peace on Israel's border with Lebanon and allowing Israelis to return home.

Direct talks between Israel and Hamas regarding the release of the hostages were halted some time ago due to disagreement over some terms.

The statement issued by the group said it had “shown flexibility and positivity in dealing with the efforts of the mediators in all previous rounds of indirect talks.” Hamas said Israel had used the months-long talks as a cover to continue its war in Gaza.

The conflict in Gaza escalated following a Hamas attack on 7 October, where approximately 2,500 militants crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip, resulting in heavy casualties and the capture of several hostages.

Israel has described its attack on Gaza as targeting Hamas infrastructure, with the goal of destroying the entire terrorist group while causing minimal civilian casualties.

Recently, the United Nations Security Council on Monday (local time) passed a resolution on the US proposal for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages.

The US-drafted deal calls on Hamas to accept a ceasefire proposal announced by President Joe Biden on May 31, which Israel has already accepted.

The resolution received 14 votes in favour, zero against, and one abstention from Russia, as the country decided not to exercise its veto power.

The resolution that has been adopted aims to reach a comprehensive ceasefire agreement in three phases.

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