Blinken Says Washington Working to Ensure More Aid to Gaza during Turkey Visit Published 47 minutes ago
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that Washington was working “very aggressively” to dramatically expand the amount of aid reaching trapped civilians in Gaza.
The top US diplomat held 2.5 hours of one-on-one talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan focused on soothing the anger at both Israel and the West of one of Washington's most strategic but difficult allies.
NATO member Turkey has been an increasingly vocal critic of the way Israel has been pursuing its month-long offensive against Hamas militants who staged an October 7 attack into Israel — the deadliest in the country's history.
Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters who marched on an air base housing US forces in southeastern Turkey hours before Blinken's arrival Sunday.
Hundreds more rallied outside the Turkish foreign ministry during his visit.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself was travelling across Turkey's remote northeast on Monday in an apparent snub of Washington's top diplomat.
Blinken told reporters after the meeting that Washington was aware of “the deep concern” in Turkey “for the terrible toll” in Gaza.
“We are working, as I said, very aggressively on getting more humanitarian assistance into Gaza and we have very concrete ways of doing that,” Blinken said before boarding a plane for Japan.
“I think we will see in the days ahead that the assistance can expand in significant ways,” he added without providing details.
A Turkish diplomatic source said Fidan pressed Blinken for “an immediate ceasefire in Gaza”.
“Fidan also pointed out to his US counterpart Blinken that bombing civilian targets and destroying infrastructure in Gaza is unacceptable,” the Turkish source said.
Blinken's talks with Fidan would have been packed with problems even before Israel launched a relentless bombing and expanding ground campaign aimed at eradicating Hamas.
The Hamas-run health ministry said nearly 10,000 people — mostly civilians — had been killed in more than four weeks of war in Gaza.
The operation started after the militants killed more than 1,400 people — also mostly civilians — and took over 240 hostages.
The war threatens to have broad repercussions on Washington's relations with Turkey.
Ankara has a muscular foreign policy and stakes in conflicts across the Middle East that occasionally fail to align with those of Washington or other NATO allies.
Washington is currently anxious to see Turkey's parliament finally ratify Sweden's stalled drive to join the US-led NATO defence organisation.
The United States has also been tightening sanctions against Turkish individuals and companies that are deemed to be helping Russia evade sanctions and import goods for use in its war on Ukraine.
And Ankara is upset that the US Congress is holding up the approval of a deal backed by President Joe Biden to modernise Turkey's air force with dozens of US F-16 fighter jets.
Turkey also has longstanding reservations about US support for Kurdish forces in Syria who spearheaded the fight against Islamic State group jihadists but are viewed by Ankara as an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Ankara has stepped up air strikes against armed Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq in reprisal for an October attack on the Turkish capital claimed by the PKK in which two assailants died.
Blinken called his talks in Ankara “very good, lengthy and productive”.
But he provided few details about the outstanding dispute and highlighted Turkey's “commitment” to accept Sweden into NATO.
Blinken faced a chorus of Arab calls to support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during a whirlwind tour of the Middle East that saw him visit both Iraq and the West Bank on Sunday.
Israel says it could accept a humanitarian pause to allow in additional shipments of aid once Hamas frees the hostages.
Blinken said on Monday only that “pause could help” secure more aid deliveries to Gaza.
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will pay his third wartime visit to West Asia this week and meet Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv and with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah.
The US officials gave only a few details about the agenda of the meetings but a report by AFP citing senior American officials said the US secretary of state will discuss the principles he laid out for “future of Gaza and the need to establish an independent Palestinian state”.
“The secretary will stress the need to sustain the increased flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, secure the release of all hostages and improve protection to civilians in Gaza. (He will discuss) the principles he laid out for the future of Gaza and the need to establish an independent Palestinian state,” the official told the news agency.
The US is also pressuring Israel to work with the Palestinian Authority and rein in settlers who have launched attacks against Palestinian villagers in the West Bank since October 7.
Netanyahu is a long-time critic of Abbas and does not prefer the two-state solution.
The US and Biden have backed Israel following the Hamas-led October 7 attacks which killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Israel's deadliest-ever attack.
But they have also expressed concern regarding the Israeli retaliation's toll on civilians, which have galvanised public opinion in much of the world. The bombing and ground campaign has left almost 15,000 people dead, mostly Palestinian civilians, according to Gaza's Hamas government.
US President Joe Biden on Monday (local time) said he and his country will keep working towards the two-state solution and believes that it can bring lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians as Israel and Hamas extended their truce by 48 hours.
“A two-state solution is the only way to guarantee the long-term security of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people. To make sure Israelis and Palestinians alike live in equal measure of freedom and dignity, we will not give up on working towards that goal,” Biden said.
Both US President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier said that following the war Gaza should be unified with the Israeli-occupied West Bank under a “revitalised” Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas' PA, also known as Fatah, controls large parts of the West Bank in close coordination with Israel but Palestinians call them “collaborators”.
A report by the New York Times said that only a small section of people in the West Bank as well as Israel feel the authority is capable of governing a post-conflict Gaza. The West Bank Palestinians view Fatah as a subcontractor to the Israeli government which controls almost every aspect of life in the West Bank.
The report also pointed out that without the security provided by the Israeli Army the Fatah may struggle to even survive in the West Bank. It also said that Palestinians consider the Fatah authoritarian, corrupt and undemocratic administration.
The New York Times report said that if elections were held imminently, it is probable, based on what experts and polls suggest, that Hamas would win again.
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We Continue Till Victory
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday visited Gaza for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war began. He is the first prime minister of Israel in two decades to visit the Gaza Strip.
“We continue until the end — until victory,” footage posted online by his office showed him saying, on his first such trip since the war began October 7.
“Nothing will stop us, and we are convinced that we have the power, the strength, the will and the determination to achieve all the war's goals, and we will,” he further added.
Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 to its internationally recognized border with the enclave. It destroyed its 21 settlements there and handed the control of the coastal enclave to the Palestinian Authority (PA) but in 2007 the PA's Fatah Party was ousted from the enclave in a bloody coup.
The Israeli Prime Minister's visit to Gaza comes amid a four-day pause in the Gaza war.
Hamas took about 240 captives from southern Israel in an unprecedented October 7 terrorist attack and killed around 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials.
Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas and embarked on an aerial bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza and killed over 15,000 people, as claimed by Hamas.
The ceasefire agreement which spans for four days and is set to expire Monday midnight saw the release of 42 hostages. Hamas is expected to free a total of 50 hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israel over the course of a four-day pause brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States.
Hamas on Sunday said that the commander of its northern brigade and four other senior leaders were killed during Israel's offensive against the terrorist group. The Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades said Ahmed al-Ghandour was a member of its military council and said that three others, including Ayman Siyyam, head of its rocket division, were killed. The West Bank branch of Hamas also confirmed that another of its leader died.
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Will Gaza Truce Be Extended
Hamas wants to extend the pause in the ongoing war between the terrorist group and Israel, news agency AFP reported citing people familiar with the developments.
“Hamas informed the mediators that the resistance movements were willing to extend the current truce by two to four days,” the person mentioned above told AFP.
The person also said that Hamas believes it is possible to ensure the release of at least 20 to 40 Israeli hostages if the ceasefire deal is extended. “The resistance believes it is possible to ensure the release of 20 to 40 Israeli prisoners”in that time,” the person further added.
Under the truce deal 50 hostages held by the terrorist are to be freed over four days in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners. There is a built-in mechanism in the deal that extends the ceasefire if Hamas releases at least 10 Israeli captives each day.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is yet to show any indication that the offensive will halt anytime soon. He visited Gaza for the first time since the war began on October 7 and also became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit the blockaded coastal enclave since 2005.
“We continue until the end — until victory,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Gaza on Sunday as he met Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers stationed there. Dressed in green military fatigues, he vowed to free all the hostages and “eliminate Hamas”.
At least 58 hostages have been released from Gaza in the three days of the ceasefire, including citizens from Thailand, the Philippines and Russia. Israeli authorities have released 117 Palestinian women and children who were languishing in Israeli prisons.
The US has backed the plan of extending the ceasefire. Biden expressed a similar hope “so that we can continue to see more hostages come out and surge more humanitarian relief into those in need in Gaza”.
At least 120 aid trucks have entered Gaza through the Rafah border on Sunday, the Egyptian government told news agency CNN. The delivery of aid to the blockaded coastal enclave is one the crucial factors in sustaining the ceasefire and hostage-for-prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas.
On October 7, Hamas terrorists broke through Gaza's militarised border with Israel in the country's deadliest attack and killed about 1,200 Israelis and foreigners and took around 240 people hostage, according to Israeli authorities.
In response, Israel launched a military campaign to destroy Hamas, killing nearly 15,000 people, mostly civilians and including thousands of children, according to Gaza's Hamas government.
Israel Reminds Ireland’s Indian-Origin PM of IDF's Role after Hamas Frees 9-Yr-Old Irish-Israeli Girl Updated 8 minutes ago
When nine-year-old Irish-Israeli girl Emily Hand was released by Hamas terrorists on Saturday, Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy began a war of words on social media site X with the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
Emily was among the latest group of hostages released by Hamas terrorists on Saturday. “This is a day of enormous joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family. An innocent child who was lost has now been found and returned, and we breathe a massive sigh of relief. Our prayers have been answered,” Varadkar said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
Israel government spokesperson Eylon Levy reacted to the post by writing: “Emily Hand wasn't “lost”. She was brutally abducted by the death squads that massacred her neighbours. She wasn't “found”. Hamas knew where she was all along and cynically held her as a hostage. And Hamas didn't answer your prayers. It answered Israel's military pressure,” Levy said.
Levy and the Israeli government have been unhappy with Ireland regarding its response to the October 7 attacks.
Israel and Ireland relations have been frustrated because of Ireland's full support of Palestine and Palestinian non-violent political movements.
The Irish PM Varadkar also accused Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission's president, of “lacking balance” and leaning towards Israel.
Ireland was the first EU state to endorse Palestinian statehood – in 1980. The Irish diplomat Niall Holohan who was based in Ramallah from 2002-2006 told the Guardian that Ireland has a history of siding with the ‘underdogs', referring to Palestinians.
“We feel we have been victimised over the centuries. It's part of our psyche – underneath it all we side with the underdog,” Holohan was quoted as saying.
Levy also referred to Irish support for the Palestinian cause in his post. “Without Israel's military pressure on Hamas, which Ireland shamefully called “something approaching revenge,” little Emily Hand would still be a hostage of Hamas. It's not that Hamas “was blind, but now it sees” (if the above statement is an allusion to Amazing Grace),” Levy said.
Amazing Grace is a hymn written in the late 1700s by John Newton.
Hamas on Saturday released a second group of Israeli and foreign civilians it had been holding hostage in the Gaza Strip in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
Israeli authorities said 13 Israelis and four Thai citizens had returned to Israel.
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Prison authorities in Israel announced early Sunday that they had released 39 Palestinian detainees, after Hamas freed 13 hostages under an agreement that came into force on Friday.
The freed Palestinian prisoners are all women and people under the age of 19, while the hostages released by Hamas are all women and children.
The agreement is supposed to last four days and allow the release of 50 Israelis and 150 Palestinians.
The exchange, which took place on Saturday, followed an initial swap on Friday when Hamas released 13 Israelis, all women and children, while Israel freed 39 Palestinian detainees, also all women and children.
Celebrations in East Jerusalem welcoming the released Palestinian prisoners were muted, amid heavy Israeli police presence.
The most prominent Palestinian released is Israa Jaabis, 37, who was convicted of detonating a gas cylinder in her car at a checkpoint in 2015, wounding a police officer. She was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Armed Israeli security forces stood by her house as she returned.
Jaabis' photo, showing her withered fingers and partially burnt face, is regularly used in demonstrations to illustrate the suffering of Palestinian prisoners.
“I'm ashamed to talk about rejoicing when the whole of Palestine is wounded”, Jaabis told journalists in her living room, alongside her 13-year-old son.
“They must release everyone,” she said.
In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, crowds celebrated and chanted slogans praising Hamas for its role in the agreement.
The Islamist movement controls parts of the West Bank, rivalling Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinian Prisoners' Club advocacy group reported that 17 Palestinians had been arrested the same day the 39 were released.
Tearful Reunions on Both Sides as Freed Israeli Hostages
Palestinian terrorist group Hamas released a second group of 13 Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners on Saturday. The Israeli authorities responded by freeing 39 prisoners who were held in Israeli custody for various offences.
There was a minor hiccup which led to fears that the hostage-for-prisoner exchange deal would fail after Hamas accused Israel of breaching its side of the agreement. The agreement has also established a four-day ceasefire which is already past its midpoint.
Hamas, in a first, freed one of the people snatched during their bloody assault on the Supernova Music Festival in southern Israel. The terrorist group freed 21-year-old Maya Regev, kidnapped by Hamas in their deadly October 7 assault on the desert rave. Hamas, however, continues to hold her brother, Itay, captive.
The delay in the hostage-for-prisoner exchange deal due to Hamas' displeasure was mediated after the intervention of Qatari and Egyptian mediators and reassurances from Israel.
Following a late-night operation, Red Cross minibuses ferried the hostages late at night through Gaza's Rafah border crossing with Egypt ahead of their transfer to Israel.
Hamas later said it had “responded positively” to Egyptian and Qatari mediators, after they relayed a promise by Israel to “uphold all the conditions of the accord”.
Israeli officials denied any breach of the terms of the pause.
Emotional reunions were reported by the hostage families forum when nine-year-old hostage Emily Hand and Otah met their parents in Tel Aviv.
“We can't find the words to describe our emotions after 50 challenging and complicated days,' Otah's family said in a statement. His mother and grandmother were also among those freed.
Meanwhile, in West Bank, muted celebrations amid heavy Israeli police presence and a few crackers greeted 39 Palestinian women and children who were released from Israeli prison.
Among those released were 38-year-old Israa Jaabis, sentenced to 11 years in jail for detonating a gas cylinder at a checkpoint in 2015. Jaabis' famous photo showing her withered fingers and partially burnt face, is regularly used in demonstrations to illustrate the suffering of Palestinian prisoners.
“I'm ashamed to talk about rejoicing when the whole of Palestine is wounded”, Jaabis told journalists in her living room, sitting beside her 13-year-old son.
“I was just waiting for the day I would be released from prison so I could hug my mother like this,” said Rawan Abu Matar, who served eight years for attempting to stab an Israeli soldier.
WHO Voices Concern as Israel Arrests Gaza Hospital Chief Mohammad Abu Salmiya Published 1 hour ago
The World Health Organization on Friday voiced concern over the fate of the head of Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital, whom Israeli forces detained over the facility's alleged use by Hamas.
In a statement the WHO said that the head of the biggest hospital in the besieged Palestinian territory had been arrested on Wednesday along with five other health workers, while they were taking part in a UN mission to evacuate patients.
“Three medical personnel from the Palestine Red Crescent Society and three from the Ministry of Health were detained,” the WHO said.
Since then two of the six have reportedly been released, but “we do not have information about the well-being of the four remaining health staff, including the director of Al-Shifa hospital,” the statement added.
The UN agency called for “their legal and human rights to be fully observed during their detention”.
Hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiya has been frequently quoted by international media about the conditions inside Al-Shifa, a major focus of the Israeli ground offensive following attacks by Hamas militants on October 7.
The Israeli army, which raided the hospital last week, has alleged that Hamas fighters used a tunnel complex beneath the facility in Gaza City to stage attacks.
Hamas and hospital officials have repeatedly denied the claims.
On Thursday the Israeli army announced it had arrested the hospital chief, along with a department head.
According to the WHO statement, the organisation has carried out three missions to al-Shifa in the space of a week, on one occasion managing to evacuate 31 babies from the hospital.
During the third mission, on Wednesday, which was carried out in cooperation with the Palestinian Red Crescent, 151 people were evacuated, including patients, their relatives and healthcare workers, according to the WHO.
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White House Quashes Claims of Israel
The White House on Saturday said that no deal has been reached between Israel and Hamas to free hostages and halt the war to ensure their safe release.
A report by the Washington Post claimed that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a tentative agreement brokered by the US to free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting.
However, White House spokesperson Adrienne Watson took to social media website X, formerly Twitter, and said that such a deal has not been reached but the US will keep working to finalise such a deal.
“We have not reached a deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get to a deal,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on X, formerly Twitter, in response to a Washington Post report of a tentative deal.
The report by the American newspaper claimed that the hostage release could begin within days and lead to the first sustained pause in conflict in Gaza. The agreement consists of six-pages, the newspaper further added.
The report by the Washington Post said the six-page agreement citing all parties to the ongoing 2023 Israel-Hamas war would halt military operations for at least five days while “50 or more hostages are released in smaller batches every 24 hours”. The report highlighted that it still remains unclear how many of the 239 hostages are being held in Gaza. It also pointed out that overhead surveillance will monitor movements on the ground “to police the pause”.
At the time of writing this report the Washington Post has retained its story on its website and has also retained the post on X announcing that a deal has been reached. The post on X by the American newspaper announcing the tentative deal and the White House reaction to the development has been shared at the beginning of this article.
This development comes after two important events. Firstly, the families of those held captive in Gaza staged a five-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to demand government action, increasing pressure on Netanyahu to ensure that the lives of innocent Israelis are not at stake and the government must take steps to secure their release.
Secondly, Brett McGurk, US President Joe Biden's main adviser on the Middle East said Saturday there would be a “significant pause” in the Israel-Hamas war if hostages held by militants in Gaza are freed while addressing a security conference in Bahrain.
Hamas seized about 240 hostages on October 7 when they surged across Gaza's militarised border into southern Israel to kill around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.
In response, Israel is carrying out a relentless bombardment and ground offensive of targets in the Gaza Strip which has so far killed 12,300 people, according to the Palestinian territory's Hamas government.
Al-Shifa Is Now a Death Zone
Gaza's largest hospital has become a “death zone,” the World Health Organization said Sunday, announcing plans to evacuate the facility, as Israel's army said it was expanding operations to destroy Hamas.
The assessment came after a visit by WHO and other UN officials to the hospital, which Israeli troops raided earlier this week.
Elsewhere, a Hamas health official said more than 80 people were killed Saturday in twin strikes on a northern Gaza refugee camp, including on a UN school sheltering displaced people.
Social media videos verified by AFP showed bodies covered in blood and dust on the floor of a building where mattresses had been wedged under school tables, in Jabalia, the Palestinian territory's biggest refugee camp.
Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, described “horrifying images” from the incident, while Egypt called the bombing a “war crime” and “a deliberate insult to the United Nations”.
A separate strike Saturday on another building in Jabalia camp killed 32 people from the same family, 19 of them children, Hamas health authorities said.
Without mentioning the strikes, the Israeli army said “an incident in the Jabalia region” was under review.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to the October 7 attacks, which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and saw about 240 people taken hostage.
The army's relentless air and ground campaign has since killed 12,300 people, more than 5,000 of them children, according to the Hamas government which has ruled Gaza since 2007.
The UN says some 1.6 million people have been displaced inside the Gaza Strip by six weeks of fighting, and Israel said Saturday its military was now “expanding its operational activities in additional neighbourhoods in the area of the Gaza Strip.”
Gaza's largest hospital, Al-Shifa, has been a key focus in recent days, with Israeli forces alleging Hamas uses it as a command centre — a claim denied by the group and medical staff.
On Sunday, the WHO said a UN assessment team reached the hospital found a “death zone”, with a mass grave at the entrance and nearly 300 patients left inside with 25 health workers.
“WHO and partners are urgently developing plans for the immediate evacuation of the remaining patients, staff and their families,” the body said, warning however that nearby facilities were already overstretched.
It urged an immediate ceasefire given the “extreme suffering of the people of Gaza.”
On Saturday, hundreds of people fled the hospital on foot on orders from the Israeli army, according to the facility's director.
Columns of sick and injured — some of them amputees — were seen making their way towards the seafront along with displaced people, doctors, and nurses, as loud explosions were heard around the complex.
At least 15 bodies, some in advanced stages of decomposition, could be seen along the route, lined with heavily damaged shops and overturned vehicles, an AFP journalist at the scene said.
NGO Doctors without Borders said a convoy carrying its staff and family members came under attack Saturday while evacuating from near Al-Shifa, despite coordinating with both sides. One person was killed.
Israeli forces denied ordering the evacuation of the hospital, saying it had “acceded to the request of the director” to allow more civilians to leave.
The WHO said 29 patients at the hospital with serious spinal injuries cannot move without medical assistance, and others have infected wounds due to lack of antibiotics.
There are also 32 babies in “extremely critical condition,” WHO said.
An Israeli siege on Gaza has left food, water, medicine and fuel in short supply, with just a trickle of aid allowed in from Egypt.
Under US pressure, Israel permitted a first consignment of fuel to enter late Friday, allowing telecommunications to resume after a two-day blackout.
The UN said Israel had agreed to allow in 60,000 litres (16,000 gallons) of fuel a day from Saturday, but warned it was little more than a third of what is needed.
Israel has told Palestinians to move south for their safety, but deadly strikes have continued there too, including on a residential building where at least 26 people were killed on Saturday, according to the director of the Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis.
“I was asleep and we were surprised by the strike. At least 20 bombs were dropped,” Imed al-Mubasher, 45, told AFP.
Diplomatic efforts are currently focused on securing the release of hostages, with US President Joe Biden's chief adviser for the Middle East saying more fuel deliveries and a “significant pause” in fighting would come “when hostages are released.”
Relatives of those taken, who range from infants to octogenarians, piled pressure on Israel's government Saturday after arriving outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Jerusalem office on a march from Tel Aviv.
“It's not normal to have children kidnapped for 43 days. We don't know what the government is doing, we don't have any information,” said marcher Ari Levi.
The bodies of two female hostages were recovered in Gaza this week, the Israeli military said, while four abductees have so far been released.
Gaza's fate after the conflict remains unclear, and Biden argued in an opinion piece published Saturday that the coastal territory and the Israeli-occupied West Bank should come under a single “revitalised” administration.
“As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalised Palestinian Authority,” he wrote in the Washington Post.
However, Netanyahu has insisted the Palestinian Authority “in its current form is not capable of receiving responsibility for Gaza.”
Biden also threatened sanctions, including visa bans, against settlers who have ramped up attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank in recent weeks.
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Blinken Dials UK’s New Foreign Minister Cameron
US secretary of state Antony Blinken held a telephonic conversation with newly appointed British foreign minister David Cameron on Tuesday. Both discussed the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict and the war in Ukraine and also discussed relations with China.
“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with UK Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron today. The Secretary congratulated Lord Cameron on his new appointments to the UK Cabinet and Peerage. Secretary Blinken and Lord Cameron underscored continuity in the US-UK special relationship and its importance to regional and global security,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a readout of the conversation.
“They discussed the Israel-Hamas conflict, including efforts to increase the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza. They also discussed relations with the PRC and cooperation to help Ukraine prevail against Russia's war of aggression,” Matthew Miller further added.
The former UK prime minister made a comeback to the UK political scene after right-wing former UK home minister Suella Braverman was ousted and James Cleverly, who was serving as foreign minister, was given her portfolio.
Braverman was ousted because she tried to exert her authority over the Conservative Party, experts told UK-based news media outlets.
Cameron stepped down as UK's prime minister in 2016 after losing the Brexit referendum. He also stood down from his MP role and later got mired in a lobbying scandal that was seen as tarnishing his reputation.
The former leader, whose foreign policy record as prime minister is viewed as chequered at best, said he “gladly accepted” his new role as Britain faced “a daunting set of international challenges”.
“While I have been out of front-line politics for the last seven years, I hope that my experience — as Conservative leader for 11 years and prime minister for six — will assist me in helping the prime minister to meet these vital challenges,” Cameron added, citing the Israel-Hamas war and Russia's conflict in Ukraine.
(with inputs from Reuters and AFP)
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