The regional tour of the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkenhas brought to the surface the deep divergences between the positions of the Biden Administration and Arab countries regarding Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The foreign ministers of Jordan and Egypt, Sameh Shoukry and Ayman Safadireceived Blinken in Amman – shortly after the secretary of state met privately with the Lebanese prime minister, Najib Mikati– to discuss the humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli attacks on the enclave, in which more than 9,500 people have died, according to the updated count of the Gaza Ministry of Health.
In the subsequent appearance, Blinken pressured Israel to establish “humanitarian pauses” in the middle of the fighting to facilitate the entry of food, fuel and other basic supplies into Gaza. A request rejected on Friday by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahuwhich made the release of the 240 hostages held by Hamas as a condition.
However, the American Secretary of State did not at any time utter the words “ceasefire”, as Shoukry and Safadi did in their respective interventions. “In our view, a ceasefire now would simply leave Hamas in its place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on October 7,” Blinken explained to his interlocutors.
Safadi, for his part, was forceful: “As human beings, we cannot accept that so many massacres occur, that so many lives are reduced. “How can we justify to anyone that killing 9,000 people, killing 3,700 children, destroying 150,000 houses, destroying hospitals, how can we justify that this is self-defense?”
The US Secretary of State ended the day by thanking his Qatari counterpart, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al ThaniDoha’s work “to ensure the departure of American and foreign citizens from Gaza and the release of hostages held by Hamas.”
In the meeting with the Qatari Foreign Minister, Blinken stressed “the critical need to protect civilians and increase humanitarian aid for the Palestinians.” A message that contrasts with the initial position of the Biden Administration, which displayed unreserved support for Israel.
Washington’s nuanced position has also not gone down well in Israel. The Chief of the General Staff of the Hebrew Army, Herzi Halevirefuted Blinken at a war cabinet meeting on Friday, according to the Israeli television network Channel 13.
The lieutenant general told the US Secretary of State that there would have been more casualties if his troops had followed the advice of the US generals sent to advise the IDF on the Gaza operation.