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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Calls for Enhanced Protection of Palestinian Civilians

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Calls for Enhanced Protection of Palestinian Civilians

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the need to intensify efforts to protect Palestinian civilians during a news conference held in Tel Aviv on Friday. Blinken's remarks followed a meeting with top Israeli officials, where discussions centered around the ongoing conflict and the well-being of those living in the region.

"We need to do more to protect Palestinian civilians," Blinken declared, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the innocent population caught in the crossfire.

In his most resolute comments to date, Blinken condemned the actions of Hamas, a militant group operating in the Palestinian territories, for using civilians as human shields and embedding its fighters within civilian infrastructure. However, he firmly stated that "civilians should not suffer the consequences for its inhumanity and its brutality."

Blinken also underlined the significance of how Israel conducts its campaign against Hamas, stating that it is not only a matter of legality but also a moral imperative. "It matters because it's the right and lawful thing to do. It matters because failure to do so plays into the hands of Hamas and other terror groups," Blinken added, echoing his previous comments on the matter.

He went on to emphasize the broader consequences of the conflict, noting, "There will be no partners for peace if they're consumed by a humanitarian catastrophe and alienated by any perceived indifference to their plight."

Blinken detailed the U.S. stance on facilitating humanitarian assistance and the release of hostages. He mentioned the potential for "humanitarian pauses" to aid in these efforts, describing them as a crucial topic of discussion during his meetings with Israeli leaders. The Secretary of State elaborated on the necessity of coordinating the implementation of these pauses, outlining the work required and the agreements to be reached.

"A number of legitimate questions were raised in our discussions today, including how to use any period of pause to maximize full humanitarian assistance, how to connect a pause to the release of hostages, and how to ensure that Hamas doesn't use these pauses or arrangements to its own advantage," Blinken explained. "These are issues that we need to tackle urgently, and we believe they can be solved," he added, expressing optimism about finding solutions to these complex challenges.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also weighed in on the matter during his meeting with Blinken. According to one source familiar with the comment, Gallant warned that Israel would only agree to a pause in fighting if it included the release of hostages. This underscores the complexity of negotiations and the difficult path toward achieving a lasting resolution in the region.

The United States remains actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to bring about an end to the hostilities, protect Palestinian civilians, and address the humanitarian crisis in the conflict-affected areas. Blinken's visit to Tel Aviv and his statements reflect the ongoing commitment to these objectives as part of the broader pursuit of peace and stability in the region.



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