Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks as he greets staff members of the U.S. Embassy to Egypt, Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in Cairo, Egypt. AP
Egypt was a real and effective partner in dealing with the latest violence between Israel and the Palestinians, Reuters quoted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as saying during an event at the American embassy in Cairo on Wednesday.
Egypt and the US are working together to let Israelis and Palestinians live in safety and security, Blinken said according to Reuters.
During his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday, Blinken pledged an additional $75 million in development and economic aid to the Palestinians in 2021, $5.5 million in immediate disaster relief for Gaza and $32 million to the UN Palestinian aid agency.
This brings overall US assistance to Palestinians under the Biden administration to over $360 million after the previous administration led by Trump cut off assistance to Palestine.
Blinken stressed, however, that the US intends to ensure that Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, does not benefit from the humanitarian aid provided.
Moreover, Blinken warned against actions by Israel or the Palestinians that risk inciting tensions or ultimately undermining the two-state solution, to which he said Washington is still committed.
Such actions, he said, include Israeli settlement activity in occupied territory Palestinians seek for a state, possible Israeli evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, and incitement to militant violence on the Palestinian side.
Blinken arrived in Cairo earlier on Wednesday as part of a Middle East tour aimed at bolstering a Cairo-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip last week.
The Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire deal, which was praised by regional and international countries, has been reached between Israel and the Palestinian factions to end the recent military assault on the Gaza Strip. It came into effect as of 21 May at 2am (23:00 GMT) Palestinian time.
The 11-day fighting has been deemed the most serious since 2014 as Israel upped aggression on Gaza with artillery and air strikes in response to rocket attacks on Israeli towns from the strip.
At least 254 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 66 children, with over 1,900 wounded, according to Palestinian health authorities, while the death toll in Israel stood at 13.
Blinken’s tour has included Jerusalem and Ramallah and he is still due to visit Jordan.
Egypt peace efforts continue
Meanwhile, sources told Al-Arabiya that Egypt is seeking to hold a peace summit between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Egypt is also working on a proposal for a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.
Blinken affirmed during his visit to Cairo Washington’s insistence on not sending any funds to Hamas, according to the sources who spoke to Al-Arabiya.
Egypt has also asked the United States to intervene to pressure Israel to freeze its expansion in building settlements in occupied Palestinian lands.
Egypt has also called on the US to intervene to resolve Egypt and Sudan’s conflict with Ethiopia in the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the sources told Al-Arabiya.
Egypt affirmed to Blinken that it would not give up on its water rights, the sources added.