US Secretary of State meets with Israeli Prime Minister amid Gaza ceasefire

·2-min read
<p>Antony Blinken vowed to “rally international support” to aid Gaza</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Antony Blinken vowed to “rally international support” to aid Gaza

(AFP via Getty Images)

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to "rally international support" to aid Gaza as he met with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The 11-day war between Israel and Hamaskilled more than 250 people, mostly Palestinians, and caused widespread destruction in the region.

The truce that came into effect Friday has so far held, but on Tuesday Mr Blinken acknowledged that it did not address any of the underlying issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges. And that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild," he said.

Mr Netanyahu spoke of “building economic growth” in the West BankGPO via Getty Images
Mr Netanyahu spoke of “building economic growth” in the West BankGPO via Getty Images

"The United States will work to rally international support around that effort while also making our own significant contributions." He added that the U.S. would work with its partners "to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance."

The US Secretary of State will not be meeting with Hamas, which does not recognise Israel's right to exist and which Israel and the U.S. consider a terrorist organisation.

Mr Blinken also addressed the larger conflict, saying "we believe that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely, to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity and democracy, to be treated with dignity."

Mr Blinken also addressed the larger conflictAP
Mr Blinken also addressed the larger conflictAP

Mr Netanyahu, meanwhile, is fighting for his political life after a fourth inconclusive election in two years. He faces mounting criticism from Israelis who say he ended the offensive prematurely, without forcibly halting rocket attacks or dealing a heavier blow to Hamas.

He hardly mentioned the Palestinians in his remarks after meeting with Mr Blinken. Although he warned of a "very powerful" response if Hamas breaks the cease-fire.

Mr Netanyahu spoke of "building economic growth" in the West Bank, but said there will be no peace until the Palestinians recognise Israel as a "Jewish state."

The Palestinians have long objected to that language, saying it undermines the rights of Israel's own Palestinian minority.

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