Despite Blinken’s reluctance to call for a ceasefire, President Mahmoud Abbas stressed the need for a cessation of hostilities as many Palestinians in the Strip are in dire need of clean water, food and medical attention.
As part of his five-day Middle East regional tour, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, met with Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.
At the meeting in Ramallah, Blinken discussed Gaza’s post-war future with the Palestinian premier, an Al Jazeera news bulletin reported.
Blinken affirmed Washington’s position on the right of an independent state for Palestinians and its support for “tangible steps” toward achieving this.
This follows remarks made by the American official during a press briefing in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
On Israel’s violent expansionism, Blinken said, “Israel must stop taking steps that undercut Palestinians’ ability to govern themselves effectively.”
He added that Israeli extremist settler violence carried out with impunity, settlement expansion, demolitions, and evictions all hamper the stability and security of the region.
Despite no explicit calls for a ceasefire from Blinken, Palestine’s Wafa News Agency reported that President Abbas stressed the urgent need for Israel to “stop the war of extermination against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.”
He underscored the necessity of a ceasefire to allow the safe entry of aid and aid workers into the besieged Strip, the news agency added.
Blinken’s visit was met with demonstrations as Palestinians in Ramallah took to the streets to protest against what observers have denounced as a performative visit by the American diplomat.
Carrying placards that read, “Blinken you are not welcomed here,” and chanting, “Blinken, get out,” demonstrators accused the United States of complicity in Israel’s ruthless expansionist violence.
More than 23,000 people have been killed so far in Israel’s bombardment, mostly women and children, since October 7.
Since December 26, Israel has blocked UN humanitarian missions to Jabalya’s Al Awda Hospital and Gaza’s Central Drug Store five times, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
UN OCHA also reported that despite more than 58,000 people in Gaza being injured as a result of Israeli attacks since October 7, the ongoing bombardment has reduced the number of functional hospitals from 36 to 13.