Blinken says Netanyahu ‘reaffirmed his commitment’ to Gaza ceasefire proposal

US secretary of state Antony Blinken speaks to the media after meeting with families and supporters of Israelis held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. (Pool/AP pic)

TEL AVIV: US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment” to a Gaza ceasefire proposal during their meeting in Jerusalem.

“I met with Prime Minister Netanyahu last night and he reaffirmed his commitment to the proposal,” Blinken said, adding that Hamas’ welcoming of a UN vote on the US-drafted ceasefire resolution was a “hopeful” sign.

“It is hopeful sign, just as the statement issued after the president (Joe Biden) made his proposal 10 days ago was hopeful,” he said.

“But it’s not dispositive. What is dispositive — or at least what so far been dispositive in one way or another — is the word coming from Gaza and from the Hamas leadership in Gaza. And that’s what counts. And that’s what we don’t have.”

“We await the answer from Hamas,” he said.

Late on Monday, Hamas said it “welcomes” the UN Security Council’s vote to adopt a resolution backing the ceasefire plan.

But the Palestinian group, which is locked in fierce fighting with Israel’s military in Gaza, insisted its demands be met, including a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory.

Blinken said that the military approach was not always “sufficient, and there has to be a clear political plan, a clear humanitarian plan to ensure that Hamas does not in any way, shape or form (remain) in control of Gaza and that Israel can move forward toward more enduring security.”

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