US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken arrived in the Middle East on his latest trip to the region, which he said will focus on Washington’s proposed Gaza ceasefire and the future of the Palestinian territories after the war.

Blankenship met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Monday, renewing US demands to accept a cease-fire deal offered by the Palestinian group Hamas. President Joe Biden late in May.

Top US diplomats will hold further talks this week in Israel, Qatar and Jordan.

Speaking to reporters before leaving Egypt, Blanken blamed Hamas for prolonging the war, saying the Palestinian group was an “outlier” in the region for not agreeing to a US deal.

“My message to the governments of the entire region, to the people of the entire region, if you want a ceasefire, put pressure on Hamas to say yes,” he told reporters.

While Blanken presented the cease-fire plan as a proposal to Biden, when Biden made the deal public, he said it was an Israeli plan.

The proposal would see a six-week pause in fighting and the release of some Israeli prisoners in Gaza and Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons, allowing talks for a permanent ceasefire.

While US officials insist that Israel has agreed to the proposal, several Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have vowed to continue fighting until Hamas is eliminated.

Days before Biden announced his move, a senior Israeli official said the army would fight in Gaza at least until the end. of the year.

For its part, Hamas has said it will only agree to a deal that leads to a lasting end to the war and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

Hamas reiterated its position on Monday after its political chief Ismail Haniyeh met with officials from Palestinian Islamic Jihad – a small armed group – in Doha.

“The two delegations discussed indirect negotiations and efforts to end the war, stressing that any agreement must include a permanent cease-fire, complete withdrawal. [Gaza] Strip, rebuild, lift the siege and a bayonet [prsioners] Exchange,” Hamas said in a statement.

The Palestinian group had earlier called for a “clear” commitment from Israel to a lasting ceasefire.

Despite the lack of clarity in the Israeli position, Biden administration officials… Said again and again That Hamas is the “only” obstacle to ending the war in Gaza.

On Monday, Blanken said he could not speculate on Hamas’ position or whether the group would agree to the plan. He thanked Egypt for its role in the talks, saying Egyptian officials had been in contact with Hamas “as recently as a few hours ago”.

The US ceasefire plan does not outline future plans for Gaza after the war, but Washington has said it will not accept Hamas rule in the area.

The Biden administration says it wants a “reformed” Palestinian Authority (PA) to eventually rule Gaza.

But the Israeli government has refused to allow the PA, based in the occupied West Bank, to rule Gaza, with Netanyahu likening Fatah to Hamas.

The Biden administration, which provides billions of dollars in military aid to Israel, has often criticized the US ally for failing to develop a long-term plan beyond the war for Gaza.

“It’s very important that we continue to work on plans for the next day, to make sure that when it comes to security in Gaza, when it comes to governance, when it comes to reconstruction,” Blanken said. If there is, then we have plans.” Monday.

“It’s going to be an important part of my conversation here in the region.”

Blanken was asked about an NBC News report that said the United States had discussed a unilateral cease-fire deal to release prisoners in Gaza with American citizenship. He said that Washington believes that a broader ceasefire agreement is the most effective way to release all the prisoners.

The Egyptian presidency said that al-Sisi had discussed Blinken’s efforts to reach a cease-fire in Gaza and both sides had agreed to step up efforts to reach an agreement.

“The meeting also discussed Egyptian efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, and to that end the president stressed the need for international efforts to remove obstacles to humanitarian aid,” he said. emphasized.”

At least 37,124 people have been killed and 84,712 others injured in Israel’s war on Gaza since October, according to Palestinian health officials.

Israel has imposed severe restrictions on the supply of food, water, medical supplies and fuel to Gaza, with the United Nations and aid agencies warning that the territory is on Gaza. On the brink of famine.

Israel launched the war when Hamas led an attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing at least 1,139 people, according to Al Jazeera, based on Israeli figures, and taking nearly 250 others hostage. made

About half of the prisoners were released under a week-long ceasefire agreement in November. About 120 prisoners remain in Gaza, 43 of whom are declared dead by Israel.

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