Home ยป Palestinians must be able to stay in Gaza – Blinken

Palestinians must be able to stay in Gaza – Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Palestinians must not be put under pressure to leave Gaza, and must be allowed to return to their homes once conditions allow.

Mr Blinken condemned statements from some Israeli ministers who have called for the resettlement of Palestinians outside Gaza.

The US official was in Qatar on his latest Middle East tour.

He was speaking as the siege on Gaza entered its fourth month.

More than 22,000 people – mostly women and children – have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. It has reported at least 113 deaths over 24 hours of Israeli bombardment.

The latest war was triggered by an unprecedented cross-border attack by Hamas gunmen on southern Israel on 7 October, in which 1,200 people were killed – most of them civilians – and about 240 others taken hostage.

“Palestinian civilians must be able to return home as soon as conditions allow,” Mr Blinken said. “They cannot, they must not be pressed to leave Gaza.”

Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has called for Palestinians to leave Gaza and make way for Israelis who could “make the desert bloom”.

And National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir this week issued a call “to encourage the migration of Gaza residents” as a “solution” to the crisis.

The official line from the Israeli government is that Gazans will eventually be able to return to their homes, though it has yet to outline how or when this will be possible.

Palestinians must be able to stay in Gaza - Blinken

Mr Blinken’s trip comes amid rising tensions in the region, with concerns that the war in Gaza could spread.

Saleh al-Arouri, a top Hamas official, was assassinated in a suspected Israeli attack in southern Beirut on Tuesday along with six others – two Hamas military commanders and four other members.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, the powerful Iranian-backed movement in Lebanon, described Arouri’s assassination as a “flagrant Israeli aggression” that would not go unpunished.

Hezbollah then fired rockets into Israel on Saturday as a “preliminary response” to the killing of Arouri.

“This is a moment of profound tension in the region. This is a conflict that could easily metastasize, causing even more insecurity and even more suffering,” Mr Blinken said.

Qatar’s PM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al -Thani said that the killing of Arouri had affected “the complicated process”.

Mr Blinken also said that the death of journalist Hamza al-Dahdouh, the eldest son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief who was killed in an Israeli strike in southern Gaza., was “an unimaginable tragedy”.

He added that “far too many innocent Palestinian men, women and children” have died in the war.

Mr Blinken arrived in Qatar following stops in Jordan, Turkey and Greece. He went on to Abu Dhabi late Sunday, and on Monday is due to travel to Saudi Arabia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *