U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a pointed statement regarding the ongoing conflict in Gaza, focusing on the actions of Hamas and the international community's response.
Demanding Accountability from Hamas
Blinken expressed his concern about the lack of international pressure on Hamas to cease its activities behind civilian lines and surrender its arms.
He emphasized that the current conflict could have been avoided or ended sooner if Hamas had taken such steps.
"This is over tomorrow if Hamas does that. This would have been over a month ago, six weeks ago, if Hamas had done that,” Blinken stated during the briefing at the State Department.His remarks underscore the complexity of the situation, where demands for a ceasefire often focus on the actions of Israel, with less emphasis on the role of Hamas.
“How can it be that there are no demands made of the aggressor and only demands made of the victim,” he added, highlighting a perceived imbalance in the international community's approach to the conflict.
Negotiations at the UN and U.S. Position
These comments come at a time when the United Nations Security Council is negotiating a resolution to suspend fighting and increase humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. The United States' support for this resolution remains a topic of discussion, reflecting the delicate balance the country seeks to maintain as Israel's strongest ally and a key player in international diplomacy.
Blinken pointed out the necessity of a resolution that addresses the root causes of the conflict. He noted that a ceasefire that leaves Hamas with the capability and intent to initiate future conflicts is not in the interests of Israel, the region, or the world.
The U.S. has previously vetoed measures at the UNSC and voted against a call for a ceasefire in the larger UN General Assembly. The conflict has resulted in a significant loss of life, with reports from the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry indicating nearly 20,000 Palestinian casualties since October 7.
Blinken acknowledged the grave impact on civilians, especially in Gaza, stressing the U.S. administration's efforts to minimize harm to those caught in the crossfire.