Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking ahead of a trip to the Middle East, on Sunday reaffirmed US support for a two-state solution as the only way to give hope to Israelis and Palestinians to live “with equal measures of security, peace and dignity. “
His remarks came days after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire, ending 11 days of mutual bombing that killed more than 200 Palestinians.
If there is no positive change, and especially if we cannot find a way to help Palestinians live with more – with more dignity and with more hope, this cycle is likely to unfold. repeat, and it’s not in anyone’s best interests, ”Blinken told ABC’s“ This Week ”.
The State Department announced Thursday that Blinken would be visiting the Middle East “in the next few days,” with plans to meet with Israeli, Palestinian and regional counterparts.
Blinken’s support for a two-state solution – the vision of Israel and a Palestinian state living peacefully side by side – reaffirms a long-held U.S. goal, although he admitted it was not “necessarily for today”.
But his remarks on “equal measures” for Israelis and Palestinians seemed to change the tone, at least, of Donald Trump’s administration, which cut aid to the Palestinian Authority and issued a peace plan in the United States. Middle East with strong Israeli support but no Palestinian support.
The senior American diplomat stressed the need to provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinians while starting a major reconstruction effort.
– “Something more positive” –
Saying that the ceasefire would help mark the shift from violence to “something more positive,” he added, “It must start now with addressing the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza.
“Then the rebuilding, the rebuilding of what has been lost and, critically, the commitment of both sides to try to start making real improvements” in people’s lives.
He was asked on ABC how the Biden administration could guarantee that aid would go to ordinary Palestinians and not help Hamas militants who launched thousands of rockets at Israel.
“We have worked in the past and continue to work with trusted independent parties that can help with reconstruction and development, not with quasi-governmental authority,” he said.
“The real challenge here is to help the Palestinians and in particular to help the Palestinian Authority achieve better results for their people, and of course Israel has a deep role to play in this area as well. ”
Israel’s response to Hamas’s rocket barrages drew sharp criticism from some liberal members of the US Congress who questioned US arms sales to the Jewish state.
Asked about it, Blinken replied: “The president was clear that we are determined to give Israel the means to defend itself… At the same time, any arms sale will be done in full consultation in Congress. “
© 2021 AFP