U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated Palestinians deserve “equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity and dignity” as Israelis in an announcement to reopen the American consulate in Jerusalem Tuesday.
Blinken’s assertion got here after assembly with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, within the occupied West Bank. Blinken traveled to the area to assist final week’s established cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers that ended 11 days of violent warfare.
“As I told the president, I’m here to underscore the commitment of the United States to rebuilding the relationship with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people, a relationship built on mutual respect and also a shared conviction that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity and dignity,” Blinken stated.
He additionally introduced $40 million value of support for Palestinians and an extra $5.5 million in emergency support for Gaza after the violence left chaos in a lot of the area and greater than 250 folks lifeless, largely Palestinians.
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Reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem is a transfer that restores ties with Palestinians that had been downgraded by the Trump administration.
The consulate lengthy served as an autonomous workplace in cost of diplomatic relations with the Palestinians. But former U.S. President Donald Trump downgraded its operations and positioned them underneath the authority of his ambassador to Israel when he moved the embassy to Jerusalem.
Trump’s transfer infuriated the Palestinians, who view east Jerusalem as occupied territory and the capital of their future state.
Blinken didn’t give a exact date for reopening the consulate.
He promised to “rally international support” to assist Gaza within the wake of the warfare. The new support he introduced brings whole U.S. help to the Palestinians underneath the Biden administration to over $360 million after the Trump administration had minimize off almost all help to them.
Blinken has promised that any help shall be saved out of the palms of Hamas, which doesn’t acknowledge Israel’s proper to exist and which Israel and the U.S. take into account a terrorist group.
The U.S. is making an attempt to bolster Abbas, who was sidelined by latest occasions, in his rivalry with Hamas and on the worldwide stage. Abbas heads the internationally backed Palestinian Authority, which administers elements of the occupied West Bank however whose forces had been pushed from Gaza when Hamas seized energy there in 2007.
Abbas is seen by many Palestinians as having misplaced all legitimacy. But he’s nonetheless seen internationally as the consultant of the Palestinian folks and a key accomplice within the long-defunct peace course of.
The truce that ended the Gaza warfare on Friday has to this point held, but it surely didn’t deal with any of the underlying points within the Israeli-Palestinian battle, one thing Blinken acknowledged after assembly earlier within the day with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges. And that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild,” he stated.
The high U.S. diplomat faces the identical obstacles which have stifled a wider peace course of for greater than a decade, together with hawkish Israeli management, Palestinian divisions and deeply rooted tensions surrounding Jerusalem and its holy websites. The Biden administration initially hoped to keep away from being drawn into the intractable battle and to focus as a substitute on different overseas coverage priorities earlier than the violence broke out.
The warfare was triggered by weeks of clashes in Jerusalem between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in and across the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a web site revered by Jews and Muslims that has seen a number of outbreaks of Israeli-Palestinian violence over time. The protests had been directed at Israel’s policing of the world throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian households by Jewish settlers.
The truce stays tenuous since tensions are nonetheless excessive in Jerusalem and the destiny of the Palestinian households just isn’t but resolved.
The evictions had been placed on maintain simply earlier than the Gaza preventing erupted, however the authorized course of is ready to renew within the coming weeks. Police briefly clashed with protesters at Al-Aqsa on Friday, hours after the cease-fire went into impact.
Adding to the tensions, an Israeli soldier and a civilian had been stabbed and wounded Monday in east Jerusalem earlier than police shot and killed the assailant in what they described as a terrorist assault.
Then, early Tuesday, a Palestinian man was shot and killed by undercover Israeli forces close to the West Bank metropolis of Ramallah, in keeping with the Wafa information company. Pictures circulating online appeared to point out the person bloodied and mendacity on the street. The Israeli military referred inquiries to the Border Police, which didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu is preventing for his political life after a fourth inconclusive election in two years. He faces mounting criticism from Israelis who say he ended the offensive prematurely, with out forcibly halting rocket assaults or dealing a heavier blow to Hamas.
In his remarks after assembly with Blinken, Netanyahu hardly talked about the Palestinians. He warned of a “very powerful” response if Hamas breaks the cease-fire.
Netanyahu spoke of “building economic growth” within the occupied West Bank however stated there shall be no peace till the Palestinians acknowledge Israel as a “Jewish state.” The Palestinians have lengthy objected to that language, saying it undermines the rights of Israel’s personal Palestinian minority.
Blinken will even go to neighboring Egypt and Jordan, which have acted as mediators within the battle. Egypt succeeded in brokering the Gaza truce after the Biden administration pressed Israel to wind down its offensive.
The administration had been roundly criticized for its perceived hands-off preliminary response to the lethal violence, together with from Democratic allies in Congress who demanded it take a more durable line on Israel. Biden repeatedly affirmed what he stated was Israel’s proper to defend itself from rocket assaults from Gaza.
The administration has defended its response by saying it engaged in intense, however quiet, high-level diplomacy to assist a cease-fire.
Blinken has stated the time just isn’t proper for an instantaneous resumption in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, however that steps might be taken to restore the injury from Israeli airstrikes, which destroyed a whole bunch of properties and broken infrastructure in Gaza.
The slim coastal territory, dwelling to greater than 2 million Palestinians, has been underneath a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized energy. Israel says the blockade is required to maintain Hamas from importing arms, whereas the Palestinians and human rights teams view it as a type of collective punishment.