Israel-Hamas War: Blinken’s Efforts To Secure A Pause Still ‘A Work In Progress’
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has ended his tour of the Middle East, now in Japan for a meeting of G7 foreign ministers where he will elaborate on Washington’s approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict that has reached the one-month mark.
On Monday, he admitted his efforts to secure a sustained humanitarian pause and greater constraint in Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip was still “a work in progress”. Talks in Ankara ended a tour that took him to Jerusalem, Amman, Ramallah in the West Bank and Baghdad.
Turkey’s Response To Israel-Hamas Conflict
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, did not meet Blinken, with the country withdrewing its ambassador from Israel on Saturday, a move welcomed by the Palestinian Authority. Erdogan said: “Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to.”
Turkey build a cancer hospital in the Palestinian enclave that has been repeatedly hit by Israeli forces. Turkey and Egypt have agreed for about 1,000 of these patients and other injured civilians to be sent to Turkey for treatment, with work believed to be underway to plan the move.
Over four days of talk, the US secretary of state was unable to persuade Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, to adopt a humanitarian pause while talks on hostages stalled over the sequencing and length of the pause in hostilities required for their release.
Minimising Casualties, Allowing Aid Into Gaza
A month ago, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, sparking a deadly violence potentially engulfing the entire region. Diplomats in the Middle East believe Blinken has the leverage with Israel to rein in the attacks by calling for a ceasefire or withholding US funding.
The number of aid trucks crossing into Gaza went down from 100 on Friday to closer to 30 in the following days. Trying to strike an optimistic note on humanitarian assistance, Blinken said: “We’ve engaged the Israelis on steps that they can take to minimise civilian casualties.”