Israeli PM Netanyahu warns of a ‘very powerful’ response if Hamas violates truce that ended 11 days of bloodshed
- Netanyahu warned Hamas not to break the calm following Friday’s ceasefire
- He spoke following talks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Tuesday
- Blinken is in Jerusalem for discussions on firming up the days-old truce
- He will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later today but will not meet Hamas, the militants that run Gaza and are declared a terror group by the US
- Eleven days of fighting killed 253 Palestinians and 12 people in Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of a ‘very powerful’ response if Hamas violates the truce on Friday that ended 11 days of bloodshed.
‘If Hamas breaks the calm and attacks Israel, our response will be very powerful,’ Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
He was speaking following talks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken who is in Jerusalem for discussions on firming up the days-old truce.
Blinken stressed that international aid to rebuild Gaza, in which experts say some 300 buildings were destroyed, should not benefit Hamas, the militant and political group that rules the area.
‘We’ll work with our partners closely, with all, to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance,’ Blinken said.
The US’ top diplomat was scheduled to meet Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas later on Tuesday but will not meet with representatives of Hamas, which is blacklisted by Washington as a terror group.
He will then travel on to neighbouring Egypt and Jordan. Egypt, along with Israel is engaged in a blockade of Gaza that began in 2007, and Jordan administers Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa compound.
US President Joe Biden said Blinken would meet ‘with Israeli leaders about our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security,’ as well as seeking to rebuild ties with the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of a ‘very powerful’ response if Hamas violates the truce on Friday that ended 11 days of bloodshed
‘If Hamas breaks the calm and attacks Israel, our response will be very powerful,’ Netanyahu said on Tuesday. He was speaking following talks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (left) who is in Jerusalem for discussions on firming up the days-old truce
Blinken on Sunday reaffirmed US support for a two-state solution as the only way to provide hope to Israelis and Palestinians that they can live ‘with equal measures of security, of peace and dignity.’
His remarks about ‘equal measures’ for Israelis and Palestinians seemed to shift the tone from former president 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.
In Jerusalem on Tuesday, Blinken said Israelis and Palestinians faced an uphill struggle to restore trust, after conflict in Gaza and unrest in the West Bank.
‘There’s lots of hard work ahead to restore hope, respect and some trust across the communities,’ the US top diplomat said.
‘But we’ve seen the alternative and I think that should cause all of us to redouble our efforts to preserve the peace and improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike.’
Israeli air strikes and artillery fire on Gaza killed 253 Palestinians in the densely populated area, including 66 children, and wounded over 1,900 people in 11 days of conflict that began on May 10, the health ministry in Gaza says.
Rocket and other fire from Gaza claimed 12 lives in Israel, including one child and an Arab-Israeli teenager, an Israeli soldier, one Indian and two Thais, medics say. Some 357 people in Israel were wounded.
Blinken stressed that international aid to rebuild Gaza, in which experts say some 300 buildings were destroyed, should not benefit Hamas, the militant and political group that rules the area
Blinken’s visit comes as the ceasefire holds, but tensions simmer in Israel and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories.
Hours before Blinken’s arrival, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli security sources said.
The man was killed during an Israeli arrest raid on Al-Amara refugee camp near Ramallah, the sources said.
In occupied east Jerusalem, Israeli police said an attacker stabbed two young Israeli men on Monday before police shot him dead. The army said one of those wounded was a soldier.
Palestinian news agency WAFA identified the casualty as a 17-year-old Palestinian high school student.
In the night of Sunday to Monday, Israeli forces rounded up 43 Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the Palestinian Prisoners Club said.
Israeli police, who operate in east Jerusalem, said late on Sunday that they had arrested 1,550 suspects and had charged 150 over the past two weeks in connection with the ‘violent events’.
Peace talks have stalled since 2014, including over the status of east Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The latest military escalation started after Israeli forces had moved in on Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, toward the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The compound includes Islam’s third holiest site and is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.
Israeli forces 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.
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