US lauds UAE’s effort to de-escalate Israel, Hamas tensions

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken thanks UAE’s efforts to de-escalate the conflict and discussed the need to explore new paths to achieve peace, reports Asian Lite News

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Monday held talks with Antony Blinken, where the US Secretary of State thanked UAE’s efforts to de-escalate the conflict and discussed the need to explore new paths to achieve peace.

The call came ahead of Blinken’s trip to the region where he is slated to visit Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Cairo and Amman. A senior State Department official said the United States harbors “every hope and expectation” the ceasefire would continue to hold.

“Our primary focus is on maintaining the cease-fire, getting the assistance to the people who need it,” said the official, who spoke on Monday on the condition of anonymity. Egypt brokered the truce, in coordination with the US.

Blinken’s visit follows an 11-day onslaught by Israel on the Gaza Strip, in which 248 Palestinians, 66 of them children, were killed in a barrage of airstrikes and artillery shelling. A ceasefire brokered by Egypt has been in place since last Friday.

However, the spark for the latest conflict was not in Gaza, but in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli authorities are threatening to evict 13 Palestinian families, about 300 people, from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah area of the city and hand the land over to Jewish settlers. A court has postponed a ruling on the case.

Last week, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nayhan said the UAE was ready to facilitate peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians.

Sheikh Mohamed’s comments came in a telephone call with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, expressing support for Egypt’s efforts to bolster a cease-fire agreed by Israel and the Palestinians after 11 days of fighting.

The UAE, which last year signed an agreement to normalize relations with Israel, “is ready to work with all parties to preserve the cease-fire and find new ways to reduce escalation and achieve peace,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

The 11-day clashes, the worst since 2014, have left at least 253 Palestinians dead, including 66 children, 39 women and 17 elderly people, while 1,948 others were injured.

On the Israeli side, there were 12 fatalities and 300 injuries.

Palestinians inspect their destroyed houses in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, on May 14, 2021. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad_Xinhua)
Biden, El-Sisi hold talks on Gaza

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Monday to discuss urgent aid and reconstruction in Gaza.

Egypt brokered a truce that brought to an end days of Israeli bombardment of the territory that killed 252 Palestinians including 66 children. Twelve people were killed in Israel by rockets fired from Gaza.

Biden and El-Sisi discussed ways to consolidate the cease-fire that was backed by the US and ways to revive the peace process, an Egyptian presidential spokesman said.

During the call, Biden said Washington was determined to work to restore calm and coordinate efforts with all international partners to support the Palestinian Authority.

The US president said Washington appreciated Egyptian efforts to reach the cease-fire, and that he would continue consulting with El-Sisi.

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