Blinken says no to Arab call for quick Gaza ceasefire

US Secretary of State's Stance on Ceasefire Sparks Debate Among Arab Allies

AMMAN: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not agree with Jordan and Egypt’s request for a fast end to the fighting in Gaza. He met with Arab foreign ministers in Amman on Saturday.

Blinken said that stopping the war now would not help, and he only wanted to pause it for a short time to help the people in Gaza who need food, medicine, and a safe place to go.

He said that if they stopped the war, Hamas, the group that attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and started this conflict, would still be there and could attack again.

Blinken talked to the media after meeting with foreign ministers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Qatar, and a Palestinian leader. They also met with Jordan’s King Abdullah before that.

The foreign ministers who met with Blinken were Ayman Safadi from Jordan, Prince Faisal bin Farhan from Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan from the UAE, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani from Qatar, Sameh Shoukry from Egypt, and Hussein Al-Sheikh from the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry said that the meeting repeated the Arab demand for an “immediate” end to the war and “uninterrupted” help for the people in Gaza.

Safadi and Shoukry spoke with Blinken at a joint press conference. Safadi said that Israel should stop killing people and breaking international law. He also said that Israel should stop taking away the homes of Palestinians and let the aid reach Gaza. He was worried about the violence in the West Bank, where Israeli settlers are killing Palestinians.

Shoukry was also upset about the many civilians who died in Gaza. He said that it was not fair to punish them all and that killing people was not a good way to defend yourself. He asked for an “immediate ceasefire without any condition,” and he said that Israel should follow international humanitarian law. He also said that there was a “double standard” in how the world treats the Arab victims and that their lives matter, too.

Blinken said the US supports “humanitarian pauses” to help the civilians. He said that he agreed with the other ministers that there should be a way to send more aid to Gaza because what they have now is “insufficient.”

When someone asked him why the US is not doing more to stop the killing of civilians, Blinken said that Israel has the right to protect itself, but it also has to protect the civilians and not hurt them too much. He said that Hamas is hiding among the civilians and using their buildings to store weapons and plan attacks. He said that he told the Israelis to be careful with the civilians.

Blinken said that he was sad to see the children who died in Gaza and said as a father, he knows how it feels.

At the end of the press conference, Safadi asked: “Self-defense? How can you explain this to a father who cannot save his children or find a safe place for them, not even in a refugee camp, a hospital or a UN building?”

Before Blinken came, King Abdullah told the foreign ministers to work together and tell the world about the danger in Gaza. He said that the Arab countries have to make the world and the powerful countries stop the war in Gaza, let the aid go through, and protect the civilians. He warned that if the fighting goes on, it will cause more problems in the region.

Alok Verma

Alok Verma is an accomplished International Reporter at IndiaFocus with a deep-seated passion for global affairs and cross-border stories. With an impressive track record in international journalism, Alok is dedicated… More »

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