Hamas standing in way of ceasefire, Blinken says during meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu

Jerusalem, May 1 : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a private meeting in Jerusalem on Wednesday as Washington reaffirmed its commitment to Israel’s security, the need to avoid further expansion of the conflict and emphasised that it is Hamas that is standing in the way of a ceasefire in Gaza.

“The Secretary discussed ongoing efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as part of a hostage deal and emphasised that it is Hamas that is standing in the way of a ceasefire,” said Matthew Miller, the spokesperson of the US State Department.

“The Secretary discussed the improvement in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza since the call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu on April 4 and reiterated the importance of accelerating and sustaining that improvement,” he added.

Blinken reaffirmed the US commitment to Israel’s security besides discussing the need to avoid further expansion of the conflict.

According to the US State Department, Blinken updated Netanyahu on ongoing efforts to ensure a lasting, sustainable peace in the region while reiterating the US’ “clear position” on Rafah.

Earlier, Blinken held a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Tel Aviv with the discussions also revolving around the urgency of delivering humanitarian assistance to civilians throughout Gaza, protecting humanitarian workers, and avoiding regional escalation.

“Bringing the hostages home is at the heart of everything we’re trying to do. We will not rest until every hostage — woman, man, young, old, civilian, soldier — is back with their families, where they belong,” Blinken posted on X on Wednesday.

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