Blinken had met separately with each Arab official ahead of the joint meeting.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has called on regional countries to pressure the international community to halt Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza on Saturday as the deadly bombardment nears one month with no ceasefire in sight.
The Jordanian king’s remarks were made during a meeting in Amman discussing the developments in Gaza, attended by United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and several Arab countries—Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.
Doha was represented by its Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
The Amman meeting on Saturday comes at a crucial time as Blinken visits the region for the third time since the start of the war. During his most recent trip to Tel Aviv, the US secretary discussed a humanitarian pause to release the captives from Hamas and to allow the distribution of aid, AFP reported.
However, Netanyahu rejected the calls and vowed to continue bombarding Gaza with its full force unless Hamas releases all captives. On Friday, Israel struck three hospitals and a United Nations-run school, all of which are sheltering thousands of Palestinians.
Since the start of the war on October 7, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have killed at least 9,488 Palestinians, including 3,826 children, with more than 1,000 others believed to be still trapped under the rubble.
Blinken met separately with each Arab official ahead of the joint meeting.
In his meeting with Sheikh Mohammed, the Qatari official called for the need for diplomatic and regional efforts to immediately reach a ceasefire and urged for the continuous opening of the Rafah crossing to allow for the flow of aid to those living under siege in Gaza.
The Qatari diplomat highlighted that the Gulf nation is still playing a mediating role with hopes to release those being held captive by Hamas as part of wider efforts to de-escalate the tensions and bring an end to the war. However, Sheikh Mohammed stressed that the non-stop bombardment is not only exacerbating the humanitarian situation on the ground but also complicating talks to release the captives.
While the participating nations have not yet released a final communique on the meeting, foreign ministers from Amman, Cairo and Washington are expected to hold a joint press briefing later.
In the meantime, the Royal Hashemite Court (RHC) issued a statement that provided a brief of the key outcomes of the meeting.
King Abdullah stressed in the meeting “the need to maintain Arab coordination to speak in one voice to the international community on the dangerous developments in Gaza,” the statement said.
“His Majesty stresses that it is the duty of Arab countries to pressure the international community to stop the war on Gaza, allow the sustained delivery of aid, and protect civilians; affirms Jordan’s condemnation of the massacres against civilians in Gaza,” the statement added.
Amman’s king further voiced his “absolute rejection of any attempt to separate the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as they are an extension of the Palestinian state.”
Ahead of the meeting, Jordan’s foreign ministry said the Amman meeting with Blinken was a chance for regional officials to voice their joint calls for a ceasefire.
Decisive regional stance
The intensified Israeli attacks and mounting death toll has led to growing frustration among the Arab and Muslim world, many of which has also appeared to target its main ally Washington.
Last week, Jordan took a more decisive stance towards Israel by withdrawing its envoy from Tel Aviv. Mixed reports also suggested a similar move by Bahrain, though this has yet to be verified.
Outside of the Middle East, Turkiye, Chile, and Colombia also recalled their envoys from Israel and Bolivia completely severed diplomatic ties with the Zionist regime.
On Saturday, UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash said the latest war on Gaza has put on display Israel’s failure and called on Washington to adopt a new strategy to end the aggression.
“If this crisis continues, especially the humanitarian side, and if this crisis brings us back full circle to the old containment policy of pre-October 7, I think the American role here, forget right or wrong, but it will not be seen as effective,” he told a conference in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE and Bahrain normalised ties with Israel in 2020 under the controversial Abraham Accords, brokered by then US President Donald Trump. Morocco and Sudan followed suit just months later.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement earlier that he sees Netanyahu as someone that Ankara can “no longer talk to.”
“Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to. We have written him off,” President Erdogan said, as quoted by Turkish media.
Since the start of the war, the US has voiced its support for Israel’s “right to self defence” following the October 7 operation by Hamas, known as ‘Operation Al Aqsa Flood’.
The historic operation saw Hamas’ armed wing, Al Qassam Brigades, infiltrate occupied territories surrounding Gaza for the first time through air, land and sea. The Palestinian resistance movement captured around 230 Israelis—including members of the IOF—and dual citizens.
Qatar has since played a critical mediating role in releasing the captives and succeeded in the release of four, though officials say the ongoing bombardment has hindered the process.
Netanyahu has vowed to reduce Gaza to rubble and completely wipe out Hamas since October 7. Seeking to act on its threats, the IOF has been attempting to advance militarily in Gaza over the past two weeks under its plans to wage a full ground invasion into the Strip.
But Hamas fighters have been battling the IOF’s attempts to enter Gaza through several areas, killing tens of Israeli soldiers, the largest such Israeli military casualty figure in years.
Over in the south of Lebanon, Hezbollah has been waging attacks on the Israeli occupation, with civilians on both sides of the border forced to evacuate. This has also triggered concerns over a potential war that could be as deadly as the Israel-Hezbollah face-off of 2006.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday broke his silence on Israel’s onslaught of Gaza, highlighting that his group had already “entered the battle” with the past weeks’ unprecedented cross-border attacks. He threatened that it “will not be limited to this”, though fell short of announcing a full engagement in the war.