Jonathan Ernst Agence France-Presse US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas at the Palestinian Muqataa presidential complex in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 5, 2023. as fighting continues between Israel and the militant group Hamas. Mr. Blinken arrived in Ramallah under heavy surveillance to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who denounced what he called a “genocide” in Gaza.
The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, made an impromptu visit to Ramallah, in the West Bank, on Sunday to show the United States' support for the Palestinians and their president, Mahmoud Abbas, in the midst of war between Israel and the Hamas.
At the end of this visit, his first to the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority since the start of the crisis on October 7, the Secretary of State sent several messages to Israel, of which the United States is the first political ally as military.
Without convincing Palestinian demonstrators who came to protest against his arrival and who consider, like Afaf Ghatasha, 24, that the United States “are at the head of this war.”
< p>Antony Blinken, who came in the morning from Amman via Tel Aviv, where he had begun his visit to the region two days earlier, reaffirmed “the United States' commitment to the delivery of vital humanitarian aid and the recovery essential services in Gaza.”
The Palestinian coastal strip has been relentlessly bombarded by Israel, which says it wants to “annihilate” Hamas, since the October 7 attack carried out by the Palestinian Islamist movement.
Mr. Blinken also “made clear that Palestinians should not be forcibly displaced” in the Gaza Strip, according to his spokesperson.
Carrying out ground operations in parallel with its strikes since October 27, the Israeli army once again scattered messages in the skies over Gaza on Sunday calling on the population to evacuate to the south to protect themselves from the fighting.
< p>In front of Antony Blinken, Mahmoud Abbas for his part denounced the “war of genocide” led, according to him, by Israel in the Gaza Strip, “without any respect for the principles of international law.”
Since October 7, 9,770 people, mainly civilians including 4,800 children, have been killed by Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip, according to a latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health on Sunday.
According to Israeli authorities, at least 1,400 people were killed on the Israeli side, the majority civilians on the day of the unprecedented Hamas attack.
Antony Blinken also called for an end to “violence by extremists”. against the Palestinians in the West Bank, where the international community fears an extension of the conflict.
The Palestinian Authority's resumption of power as a way out
The war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement has exacerbated tensions in the occupied West Bank, where more than 150 Palestinians have been killed by gunfire from soldiers or Israeli settlers since October 7, according to the Palestinian Authority.
The Israeli army said Friday that its forces are “operating against Hamas,” including in Jenin and Nablus in the north of the territory.< /p>
With this trip, Mr. Blinken intended to show his support for President Abbas and the Palestinians trapped in the war between Israel and Hamas.
Mr. Blinken recently asserted that the Palestinian Authority must eventually regain control of the Gaza Strip, governed by Hamas.
On Sunday, Mr. Abbas linked this hypothesis to a “settlement” of the conflict encompassing all of the Palestinian territories.
The United States also advocates a two-state solution, Israeli and Palestinian, as the only way out of the long-term conflict.
Saturday in Amman, the US Secretary of State had once again pleaded in favor of “humanitarian pauses” in the conflict, while opposing a ceasefire which he said would “only keep Hamas in place.”
Mr. Blinken is conducting intense consultations during this second tour of the Middle East in three weeks. After a stop in Cyprus, he must go to Ankara on Sunday evening to continue his consultations there while Turkey is in the midst of a diplomatic crisis with Israel.