Blinken: Gaza must be allowed to remain home to Palestinians

Blinken: Gaza must be allowed to remain home to Palestinians

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Blinken: Gaza must be allowed to remain home to Palestinians

Antony Blinken is on his latest Middle East tour. Image: REUTERS


Blinken: Gaza must be allowed to remain home to Palestinians.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlights that Palestinians ought to be free to return home whenever circumstances allow and shouldn’t be forced to leave Gaza.

Blinken disapproves of remarks made by Israeli ministers advocating for the relocation of Palestinians to another location.

Blinken made these comments in reaction to rumours that up to 70 people had died at the Jabalia refugee camp while on a Middle East trip in Qatar.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) emphasise their activities against Hamas, saying they targeted a military location and are not aware of the alleged casualties.

According to reports, more than 60 Palestinians were slain in Khan Younis, raising the death toll in Gaza even higher. Many people have died as a result of the ongoing violence, particularly civilians.

“Palestinian civilians must be able to return home as soon as conditions allow,” Mr Blinken said on Sunday. “They cannot, they must not be pressed to leave Gaza.”

Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has called for Palestinians to leave Gaza and make way for Israelis who could “make the desert bloom”.

And National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, another far-right politician, this week issued a call “to encourage the migration of Gaza residents” as a “solution” to the crisis.

The official line from the Israeli government is that Gazans will eventually be able to return to their homes, though it has yet to outline how or when this will be possible.

Meanwhile, the situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. Health officials said even medical facilities including hospitals are now unsafe.

Three international medical aid groups announced they were pulling out of the Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza after Israel issued evacuation orders.

A representative of the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told the BBC World Service’s Newshour programme that they were “hugely concerned by this development”.

“What it means is that a hospital that was already over-crowded and overloaded and well beyond its capacity is now without absolutely critical reinforcement to support it as it deals with an ever-increasing number of casualties,” said Gemma Connell.

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that more than 600 patients and health workers were forced to leave the hospital, according to its director.

“Their locations are not currently known,” said Mr Tedros in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The latest Middle East tour by Mr. Blinken coincides with escalating tensions in the area due to worries that the Gaza War may expand.

A suspected Israeli attack in southern Beirut on Tuesday claimed the lives of six people, including two Hamas military leaders and four other members, including top Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri.

The head of Hezbollah, a significant Iranian-backed force in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, called Arouri’s killing a “flagrant Israeli aggression” that would not be tolerated.

After that, on Saturday, Hezbollah launched rockets into Israel in “preliminary response” to Arouri’s death.

“There is a great deal of stress in the area right now. This is a conflict that has the potential to spread quickly, leading to increased pain and insecurity.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, stated that Arouri’s death had an impact on “the complicated process”.

The eldest son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau head, journalist Hamza al-Dahdouh, was murdered in an Israeli strike in southern Gaza, and Mr. Blinken described his death as “an unimaginable tragedy”.
There have been “far too many innocent Palestinian men, women, and children” lost to the conflict.

Mr. Blinken made stops in Jordan, Turkey, and Greece before arriving in Qatar. He continued on to Abu Dhabi late on Sunday, and he is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia on Monday.

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