U.S. Secretary of State sees hope in Hamas’ support for ceasefire resolution, emphasises post-war plans for Gaza

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Antony-Blinken

11th June 2024 – (Jerusalem) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledges Hamas’ statement of support for a UN resolution on a Gaza ceasefire as a hopeful sign. He emphasizes the need for confirmation from Hamas leadership and ongoing discussions on post-war plans for Gaza. Blinken also addresses rising tensions between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, aiming to prevent further conflict.

In a diplomatic effort to bring an end to the protracted Israel-Hamas war, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expresses optimism following a statement from Hamas endorsing a UN resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza. While considering the Hamas statement a hopeful sign, Blinken highlights the significance of receiving definitive word from the leadership in Gaza. He stresses the importance of ongoing discussions regarding plans for Gaza after the war, encompassing critical aspects such as security, governance, and the reconstruction of the devastated enclave.

During his visit to Jerusalem, Blinken engages in talks with Israeli officials, focusing on ending the eight-month-long conflict. President Joe Biden’s proposal for a ceasefire was recently approved by the UN Security Council, providing momentum for the peace negotiations. However, both Israel and Hamas maintain firm positions that have hindered previous mediation efforts. Israel continues its military operations, particularly in central and southern Gaza, resulting in a high number of casualties.

Despite the ongoing violence, senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri, based outside of Gaza, announces the group’s acceptance of the ceasefire resolution and willingness to negotiate the specifics. Abu Zuhri emphasizes the responsibility of the United States to ensure Israel’s compliance with the resolution, highlighting the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and the exchange of hostages as key components.

While acknowledging the positive development, Blinken reiterates the need for confirmation from Hamas leadership in Gaza. To address Israel’s concerns, Blinken emphasises that temporary pauses in the war are only a part of the negotiation process, as Israel seeks a complete defeat of Hamas. The Secretary of State emphasizes the ongoing discussions with regional partners to ensure comprehensive plans for Gaza’s future, aiming to restore stability and facilitate the recovery of the enclave.

Blinken’s visit also encompasses the rising tensions between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, with a focus on preventing a major escalation. He meets with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, ex-military chief Benny Gantz, and opposition leader Yair Lapid, discussing Biden’s proposal for a ceasefire, the return of hostages, and the restoration of calm along Israel’s border with Lebanon.