United States Backs Creation Of Palestinian State
The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, has thrown his weight behind the creation of a Palestinian state.
Blinken told Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday that Washington supports “tangible steps” towards the creation of a state.
Blinken reiterated Washington’s longstanding position that a Palestinian state must stand alongside Israel, “with both living in peace and security”, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.
Palestinian statehood was anticipated following the Oslo Accords of the 1990s but talks have been moribund for years.
Abbas told Blinken that Gaza is integral to Palestinian statehood hopes and should not be cut off as a result of Israel’s war with Hamas, an official statement said. “It is not possible to accept or deal with the plans of the occupation authorities to separate it, or cut off any part of it,” the Palestinian leader told Blinken.
The statement, published by the Palestinian news agency WAFA, further quoted Abbas as saying that Palestinians must not be displaced from Gaza or the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where he wields limited governance following a 2007 schism with Hamas.
Abbas further called for the “convening an international peace conference to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, which achieves peace and security for all,” according to WAFA.
The Israeli government has shown no interest in reviving negotiations and the Palestinian leadership remains split between the Palestinian Authority, headed by Abbas, and Hamas which rules Gaza.
In talks with Abbas in the occupied West Bank, Blinken mentioned “increased volatility” in the territory, where hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in raids by the Israeli military or attacks by Jewish settlers in recent months.
As part of efforts to stabilise the territory, Blinken called on Israel to hand over revenues owed to the Palestinians in full.
Blinken “underscored the United States’ position that all Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel should be consistently conveyed to the Palestinian Authority in accordance with prior agreements,” Miller said.
Israel has for years withheld part of the funds, over issues including payments to Palestinian prisoners and more recently the Gaza war.
The health ministry in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in December said at least 21,320 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since the war with Israel erupted on October 7.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in retaliation for its October 7 attack and officials have said the war could last months more.