Blinken says Netanyahu 'reaffirmed commitment' to Gaza ceasefire plan

Blinken says Netanyahu 'reaffirmed commitment' to Gaza ceasefire plan

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had "reaffirmed his commitment" to a Gaza ceasefire proposal during their meeting in Jerusalem.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a meet and greet event with personnel of the US Embassy in Ecuador, in Quito, on October 19, 2021. Blinken began a trip meant to highlight Latin American democracy in Ecuador -- just as the country declar

"I met with Prime Minister Netanyahu last night and he reaffirmed his commitment to the proposal," Blinken said, adding that Hamas's welcoming of a UN vote on the US-drafted ceasefire resolution was a "hopeful" sign.

"It is a hopeful sign, just as the statement issued after the president (Joe Biden) made his proposal 10 days ago was hopeful," he said.

"But it's not dispositive. What is dispositive — or at least what so far been dispositive in one way or another — is the word coming from Gaza and from the Hamas leadership in Gaza. And that's what counts. And that's what we don't have.

"We await the answer from Hamas," he said.

Israel too has yet to formally announce it has accepted the ceasefire proposal, which was revealed by Biden on May 31.

ALSO READ: UN Sec. Council votes for US-drafted Gaza ceasefire resolution

Biden has presented what he labelled an Israeli three-phase plan that would end the conflict, free all hostages and lead to the reconstruction of the devastated Palestinian territory without Hamas in power.

Shortly after Biden unveiled the plan, Netanyahu said the roadmap was only "partial".

Late on Monday, Hamas said it "welcomes" the UN Security Council's vote to adopt a resolution backing the ceasefire plan.

But the Palestinian militant group, which is locked in fierce fighting with Israeli military in Gaza, insisted its demands be met, including a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory.

Blinken said that the military approach was not always "sufficient, and there has to be a clear political plan, a clear humanitarian plan to ensure that Hamas does not in any way, shape or form (remain) in control of Gaza and that Israel can move forward toward more enduring security."

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