Egypt's FM Shoukry meets Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah

Elias Hubbard
May 25, 2021

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Israel at the start of a Middle East tour aimed at shoring up the Gaza cease-fire.

"It is a letter of solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority", the Foreign Minister said.

In Jerusalem Tuesday, he said Israelis and Palestinians faced an uphill struggle to restore trust, after conflict in Gaza and unrest in the West Bank.

Ramallah, May 25 (SocialNews.XYZ) Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah and discussed the situation in the Palestinian territories following the Israel-Hamas ceasefire brokered by Cairo.

The frenzied shouts of an auctioneer at Gaza City's main fishing port brought a welcome reprieve from the din of gunfire and explosions as life slowly began returning to normal following 11 days of hostilities between Hamas and Israel. Twelve Israelis have been killed and 300 others wounded.

His remarks about "equal measures" for Israelis and Palestinians seemed to shift the tone from Donald Trump's administration, which cut aid to the Palestinian Authority and unveiled a Middle East peace plan with strong Israeli backing but no support from Palestinians.

They had also sought to quell protests against the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from homes in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah to make way for Jewish settlers.

Israeli forces had moved in on Palestinian worshippers at the site, toward the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

On Monday, the ministry said in a statement that two young men succumbed to their critical wounds as a result of the Israeli airstrikes, adding that the corpses of four Palestinians were retrieved from under building rubbles. He added that the USA would work with its partners "to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance". Relatives and representatives of the Palestinian factions attended.

Blinken will also visit neighboring Egypt and Jordan, which made peace with Israel decades ago and have acted as mediators in the conflict.

The administration had been roundly criticized for its perceived hands-off initial response to the deadly violence, including from Democratic allies in Congress who were demanding it take a tougher line on Israel and its response to rocket attacks from Palestinian militant groups in Gaza.

Biden said last week his country was committed to helping provide humanitarian relief and supporting reconstruction in Gaza "in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal".

The administration has defended its response by saying it engaged in intense, but quiet, high-level diplomacy to support a ceasefire, which was ultimately arranged last week after Egyptian mediation.

"He will continue our Administration's efforts to rebuild ties to, and support for, the Palestinian people and leaders, after years of neglect".

He said the time is not right for an immediate resumption in negotiations between the two sides but that steps could be taken - mainly humanitarian initiatives - to fix damage from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, which caused significant damage to civilian infrastructure and deaths. Israel says the blockade is needed to keep Hamas from importing arms, while the Palestinians and human rights groups view it as a form of collective punishment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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