Blinken says Netanyahu 'reaffirmed commitment' to Gaza ceasefire plan

AFP , Tuesday 11 Jun 2024

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had "reaffirmed his commitment" to a Gaza ceasefire proposal during their meeting in Jerusalem.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media during his visit to Tel Aviv, Israel. AP


"I met with Prime Minister Netanyahu last night and he reaffirmed his commitment to the proposal," Blinken said, adding that Hamas's welcoming of a UN vote on the US-drafted ceasefire resolution was a "hopeful" sign.

"It is a hopeful sign, just as the statement issued after the president (Joe Biden) made his proposal 10 days ago was hopeful," he said.

"But it's not dispositive. What is dispositive - or at least what so far been dispositive in one way or another - is the word coming from Gaza and from the Hamas leadership in Gaza. And that's what counts. And that's what we don't have."

"We await the answer from Hamas," he said.

Israel too has yet to formally announce it has accepted the ceasefire proposal, which was revealed by Biden on May 31.

Biden has presented what he labeled an Israeli three-phase plan that would end the conflict, free all captives, and lead to the reconstruction of the Gaza strip, which was leveled by Israeli forces, without Hamas in power.

Shortly after Biden unveiled the plan, Netanyahu said the roadmap was only "partial".

Late on Monday, Hamas said it "welcomes" the UN Security Council's vote to adopt a resolution backing the ceasefire plan.

But the Palestinian militant group insisted its demands be met, including a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory.

Blinken said that the military approach was not always "sufficient, and there has to be a clear political plan, a clear humanitarian plan to ensure that Hamas does not in any way, shape or form (remain) in control of Gaza and that Israel can move forward toward more enduring security."

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