Blinken: Palestinians must be allowed to stay in Gaza

Blinken: Palestinians must be allowed to stay in Gaza

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in remarks Sunday that Palestinians need to be able to return to their homes in Gaza as soon as it’s safe.

In a joint press conference with Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Blinken said the amount of aid to Gaza must increase and that Palestinians must be able to return to their homes. He again reiterated the U.S.’s rejecting of some Israeli ministers’ comments last week that advocated for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza.

“As Israel moves to a lower-intensity phase of its military operation in the north, the United Nations can also play a crucial role in evaluating what needs to be done to allow displaced Palestinians to return home,” Blinken said on Sunday. “Palestinian civilians must be able to return home as soon as conditions allow. They cannot and they must not be pressed to leave Gaza.”

He also pushed back on statements made by Israeli ministers earlier this month when they suggested that the resettlement of Palestinians may be a result of the war. The U.S. State Department already rejected the “irresponsible” and “inflammatory” remarks made by the two Israeli ministers in a statement last week.

“We reject the statements by some Israeli ministers and lawmakers calling for a resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza,” Blinken said on Sunday. “These statements are irresponsible, they’re inflammatory, and they only make it harder to secure a future of a Palestinian-led Gaza with Hamas no longer in control and with terrorist groups no longer able to threaten Israel’s security.”

The U.S. has repeatedly pushed for a two-state solution to end the Israel-Hamas war that has just hit its 3-month mark of fighting. Since the onset of the war last year, about 85 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have already been displaced, according to The Associated Press.

In addition, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has reported that more than 20,000 people in the territory have died since the war began.

Blinken also emphasized that the U.S. is committed to helping the region reach a peaceful and secure solution.

“Of course, even as we focused on our immediate goals, we also must work toward lasting peace and security. The United States has a vision for how to get there, a regional approach that delivers lasting security for Israel and a state for the Palestinian people,” he said.

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