Middle East/North Africa

Blinken pledges to ‘rally international support’ for aid to Gaza

Secretary of State Antony Blinken
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday pledged to “rally international support” for aid to Gaza following a cease-fire between Israel and militant group Hamas that devastated the city.

Speaking in Jerusalem alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blinken said that rebuilding Gaza is the first step to preventing further violence in the region, according to a transcript of the remarks released by the State Department.

“We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges, and that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild,” Blinken said. 

“The United States will work to rally international support around that effort while also making our own significant contributions,” he continued.

Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease- which took effect last week, ending some of the worst violence the region has seen since 2014.

The violence came amid weeks of tensions in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Palestinians at a holy site revered by Jews and Muslims, The Associated Press noted.

Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel since May 10, and Israel responded with air raids that devastated Gaza.

More than 200 Palestinians were killed as a result of Israeli airstrikes from Gaza, while at least a dozen Israelis were killed from Hamas fire.

Blinken said that casualties are “often reduced to numbers but behind every number is an individual human being.”

He maintained Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization.

“The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks such as the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas indiscriminately against Israeli civilians,” he said.

Blinken is traveling to the region this week following the cease-fire announcement. He will also visit Ramallah, Cairo and Amman.

Tags Antony Blinken Benjamin Netanyahu Gaza Israel Israel-Hamas conflict Palestine State Department

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