Israel Will Not End War on Hamas in Gaza As Part of Hostage Deal: Netanyahu Tells Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken urges Israel to avoid major assault on Gaza, pushes for ceasefire deal to end escalating violence and address humanitarian crisis.

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Waqas Arain
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Blinken Opposes Israeli Attack on Rafah, Urges Alternative Approach to Hamas

Blinken Opposes Israeli Attack on Rafah, Urges Alternative Approach to Hamas

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday, reiterating the United States' opposition to a major Israeli assault on the crowded Gaza city of Rafah. Blinken suggested that there are "better ways" to address the ongoing challenge posed by Hamas, rather than requiring a large-scale military operation in Rafah, where over a million Palestinian refugees are currently sheltering.

During the talks, Blinken blamed Hamas for the lack of a ceasefire agreement and emphasized the need to get more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Netanyahu told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he would not accept an end to the war in Gaza as part of a potential hostage deal

Blinken also met with Jordanian and Palestinian officials to discuss efforts to expedite the delivery of aid to the war-torn region. Blinken stated that securing the release of hostages held by Hamas is a top priority for the international community.

The Gaza war started on October 7, 2023, after a Hamas-led attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians. Israel's retaliatory offensive has since killed at least 34,568 people in Gaza, with women and children making up a significant portion of the casualties. The United Nations has warned of an impending famine in Gaza due to the ongoing conflict and the lack of adequate humanitarian assistance.

Why this matters: The escalating violence in Gaza has raised concerns about a potential humanitarian disaster and the need for a peaceful resolution to the long-standing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The U.S. plays a vital role in mediating the crisis and ensuring the safety of civilians caught in the crossfire.

Blinken's visit comes amid speculation that Israel will soon launch an assault on Rafah, despite international calls to hold off on such an operation. Netanyahu has insisted that the military offensive will proceed as planned. The U.S. Secretary of State also visited the heavily damaged home of an American-Israeli family killed in the October 7 Hamas attack, underscoring the human cost of the conflict.

In his meetings with Israeli leaders, Blinken pushed for a ceasefire deal that would involve a temporary halt to fighting and the release of hostages. He urged Hamas to accept the "extraordinarily generous" truce deal proposed by Egyptian mediators. However, a senior Hamas official accused Blinken of failing to respect both sides and described Israel as the real obstacle to peace.

Blinken emphasized that the "time is now" for a ceasefire agreement and that it is up to Hamas to agree to Israel's proposal and "compromise." He highlighted the U.S. efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza, including the opening of new crossing points, the use of the port of Ashdod, and the establishment of a maritime corridor. The first shipments of aid from Jordan to northern Gaza left on Tuesday, marking a significant step in the relief efforts.

As part of the proposed ceasefire deal, Israel has offered to release 33 Israeli hostages, gradually release Palestinian prisoners, and allow the return of displaced Palestinians to the north of Gaza. However, the sides remain far apart on the key issue of whether the war shoul

Key Takeaways

  • Blinken opposes Israeli assault on crowded Gaza city of Rafah, suggests "better ways".
  • Blinken blames Hamas for lack of ceasefire, prioritizes hostage release and humanitarian aid.
  • Gaza war since Oct 2023 has killed 34,568 people, UN warns of impending famine.
  • Blinken pushes for ceasefire deal, but Hamas accuses him of failing to respect both sides.
  • Proposed ceasefire includes releasing hostages, prisoners, and allowing displaced Palestinians to return.