Offering a road to a Palestinian state is the greatest way to stabilise the region and isolate Iran and its proxies, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as he concluded a frenzied regional trip over the Gaza conflict in Cairo on Thursday, news agency Reuters reported. Blinken, who shuttles between Israel and Arab governments, has been advocating for a resolution to the Gaza crisis, even as it threatens to expand to Lebanon, Iraq, and Red Sea commerce channels.
Blinken told reporters after meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that the region faced two paths, the first of which would see “Israel integrated, with security assurances and commitments from regional countries and the US, and a Palestinian state – at least a pathway to that state.”
“The other path is to continue to see the terrorism, the nihilism, the destruction by Hamas, by the Houthis, by Hezbollah, all backed by Iran,” he was quoted by Reuters in its report.
Israel and its US supporters have stated that this is not Israel’s intention, but Egypt is growing concerned as more Gazans being forced to the enclave’s border.
Egypt and Qatar have been attempting to mediate between Hamas and Israel in order to negotiate a truce and secure the release of Israeli hostages, as well as to press for greater supplies to be brought into southern Gaza.
According to a statement from Sisi’s office, Blinken was informed on such efforts during his meeting with Sisi and Egyptian intelligence head Abbas Kamel. According to the statement, all parties have declared their opposition to any relocation of Palestinians from their homes.
Blinken informed NBC in an interview on Tuesday that he hoped Hamas would continue to negotiate the release of captives after a ceasefire that halted violence in late November and resulted in the release of more than 100 detainees expired.
The conflict began on October 7 with an attack by Palestinian Hamas terrorists that Israel claims killed 1,200 people and captured 240 captives.
Blinken, who visited nine countries and the occupied West Bank in a week, brought to Israel a rough agreement that its Muslim-majority neighbours would help rehabilitate Gaza after the war and continue economic integration with Israel, but only if Israel commits to allowing the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the future.
This state would include Gaza and the West Bank, where Blinken visited Abbas on Wednesday in Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital.
Washington wants the unpopular Palestinian Authority to restructure and restore credibility in preparation to take control of Gaza if and when Israel succeeds in its objective of ousting Hamas, which has ruled the territory since 2007.