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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Jeddah. (Photo: Secretary of State Antony Blinken TW Page)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

In a statement on Monday, Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif Al-Qanou’ said the demands of the Resistance are “not insurmountable” but “legitimate demands”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas to accept an Israeli proposal for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as well as the release of Israeli captives held in the enclave.

“Hamas has before it a proposal that is extraordinarily, extraordinarily generous on the part of Israel,” Blinken said at a meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Monday.

“They have to decide and they have to decide quickly. I’m hopeful that they will make the right decision,” he reportedly added.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, one of several foreign ministers also in Riyadh for the WEF meeting, described the Israeli proposal as “generous”, according to a Reuters report.

“I hope Hamas do take this deal and frankly, all the pressure in the world and all the eyes in the world should be on them today saying ‘take that deal’,” Cameron reportedly said.

‘Legitimate Demands’ – Hamas

In a statement on Monday, Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif Al-Qanou’ said the demands of the Resistance are “not insurmountable” but “legitimate demands understood by mediators and supported by our people and agreed upon nationally and factionally.”

“Without fulfilling the just demands of our people for a permanent ceasefire, withdrawal of forces, and the return of displaced persons, no agreement with the occupation will succeed,” Al-Qanou’ emphasized.

“Guaranteeing a permanent ceasefire is a fundamental pillar for moving towards the details of the negotiation and the success of the agreement with the occupation.”

“What the occupation has failed to achieve over seven months of destruction, devastation, and genocide cannot be achieved in the lost time of the war,” he added.

Hamas confirmed on Saturday that it had received Israel’s official response to a ceasefire and prisoner proposal it sent to Egypt and Qatar on April 13.

No Rafah Plan Yet

Blinken also said that the US “has not seen” an Israeli plan for an invasion of the southern Gazan town of Rafah that prioritizes the protection of civilians.

“We’ve said clearly, and for some time now on Rafah that, in the absence of a plan to ensure that civilians will not be harmed, we can’t support a major military operation in Rafah,” he said.

“And we have not yet seen a plan that gives us confidence that civilians can be effectively protected,” he added.

The top US diplomat also criticized Iran, saying that it is the “greatest source of instability” in the Middle East.

Talks with Saudi FM

Blinken also met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday on the sidelines of the Joint Ministerial Meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

“I spoke with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince @FaisalbinFarhan on the importance of increasing aid into Gaza, achieving an immediate ceasefire that secures the release of hostages, and building lasting peace and security in the region,” Blinken said on X.

The Secretary and Foreign Minister also “continued discussions on regional and bilateral efforts to achieve lasting peace and security in the region, including through greater integration among countries in the region and a pathway to a Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel,” according to a readout from Matthew Miller, the US State Department spokesperson.

This is Blinken’s seventh visit to the region since October. He arrived in Riyadh after meetings with his Chinese counterpart and President Xi Jinping.

“The question that I raised with our Chinese counterparts is… we would urge you to use the influence because it’s in your interest,” Blinken reportedly said.

Over 34,000 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,488 Palestinians have been killed, and 77,643 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(PC, Anadolu)

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