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22 May, 2024
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US pushes for Palestinian state amidst ongoing Gaza crisis

Blinken engaged in talks with President Mahmoud Abbas


Secretary of State Antony Blinken engaged in talks with President Mahmoud Abbas, highlighting U.S. efforts to support postwar plans for Gaza, emphasizing concrete steps toward a Palestinian state.

As AP reports, despite facing significant hurdles, including opposition from Israel's government and challenges within the Palestinian leadership, Blinken secured commitments from regional countries for Gaza's rebuilding. The potential for Israeli-Arab normalization remains contingent on progress toward a Palestinian state, setting the stage for complex diplomatic negotiations.

In a critical meeting held in Ramallah, Blinken conveyed U.S. support for tangible steps in creating a Palestinian state, addressing administrative reforms. However, the vision outlined faces obstacles, with Netanyahu's government opposing a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and the Palestinian leadership lacking legitimacy in the eyes of many Palestinians. The ongoing Gaza conflict adds to the complexity, fueling a humanitarian crisis and heightening tensions between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah militants.

Blinken's recent engagements with regional leaders, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE, and Turkey, reveal openness to contribute to postwar plans in exchange for progress on a Palestinian state. The Saudi Ambassador's statement underscores the importance of an independent state of Palestine for any normalization agreement with Israel.

Following discussions with Israeli officials, Blinken delivered a stern message, urging Israel to cease actions undermining Palestinian self-governance, such as settlement expansions, home demolitions, and evictions. Simultaneously, he emphasized the Palestinian Authority's responsibility to reform and improve governance, acknowledging the need for internal changes.

As tensions persist, Abbas meets with leaders from Jordan and Egypt, traditional mediators in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, seeking diplomatic solutions. Israel's commitment to continued military operations, coupled with its postwar plans for territorial control, raises concerns about the plight of Gaza's displaced population.

The dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, with a significant percentage of the population displaced and facing starvation, demands urgent attention. Blinken urges Israel to facilitate aid distribution, emphasizing the need for effective measures. Opposition to resettlement plans for displaced Palestinians is clear, with the U.S. rejecting such scenarios as Israel contemplates postwar strategies.

With ongoing military operations and airstrikes impacting Gaza's landscape, concerns arise about the feasibility of displaced Palestinians returning to their homes. An airstrike in Rafah raises alarms, further highlighting the toll on civilians, including women and children.

As the conflict's toll continues to rise, with a reported 23,357 Palestinians killed and over 59,000 wounded, Blinken stresses the importance of distinguishing between combatants and civilians. The Israeli military attributes the high toll to Hamas, citing their presence in densely populated areas.

The complexity of the situation underscores the challenging path toward achieving stability and a lasting resolution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

[With information sourced from AP]

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