Blinken's visit to the region…solution to Egyptian-Qatar mediation in Gaza or support for Israel?
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has embarked on a new tour of the Middle East region, based on or as a result of growing threats related to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip. The war on several fronts has led to increased threats at the entrance to the Red Sea. Movement except for “stagnation” in the Egyptian-Qatar mediation process to calm the situation in Gaza, following the assassination of Hamas leader, Saleh Al-Arouri, in Lebanon last week. Israel presented a vision for the “future of the Gaza Strip,” where fighting has entered its fourth month.
The U.S. State Department announced Thursday that Blinken will embark on a tour that will include “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank, Turkey and Greece, in addition to Israel, his previously announced stops.”
US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken would discuss matters including “immediate steps to significantly increase humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip”. He added at a press conference on Thursday: “We don't expect all the talk of this trip to be easy.” It is clear that “the tough issues facing the region and the tough choices ahead of us.”
Miller said the minister would also discuss “preventing escalation of the conflict” following al-Aroori's assassination, and intensifying Houthi operations against Israeli ships or people traveling to Israel in the Red Sea. Crossing the Gaza border is not in anyone's interest, Israel or the region or the world.
This is Blinken's fourth trip to the region since Oct. 7, and in his last trip to Israel, the day before the cease-fire expired on Nov. 30, Blinken discussed with Israeli leaders “the possibility of extending humanitarian ceasefires in the besieged area.” However, he left minutes before the renewed bombing, while Several US officials have visited the region and met with their Israeli counterparts “without reaching concrete results in terms of a ceasefire”.
The future of the Gaza Strip
According to observers, the US secretary of state is expected to discuss a number of “difficult” issues related to the future of the Gaza Strip, amid growing talk of the need to move ahead with a “relocation” plan in Israel. Residents outside the Gaza Strip.
Barakat al-Farra, the former Palestinian ambassador to Cairo, noted that Blingen's visit to the region “cannot be trusted to bring about an improvement in the situation in the Gaza Strip”. Meetings with Israeli officials without achieving significant results will “support” Israel and pave the way for further massacres against Palestinians.” Al-Farra told Asharq Al-Awsat, “Despite the negative impact of al-Aruri's assassination on all political movements, the Egyptian proposal to end the war, the visit to the region While on the agenda of the US minister's discussions” it “imposed a reality that was difficult for all parties to overcome, in light of Israel's escalation.” “And it presented (vague) ideas about the future of Gaza.”
Migration of Palestinians
In Israel, talk of “Palestinian migration” has gone from secret to public, with ministers in the right-wing Israeli government issuing almost daily statements about the need to “expulse Palestinians” from the Gaza Strip and replace the territory. These are the positions expressed by the two ministers, Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smodrich, despite several positions by the US administration rejecting any steps to “displace the Palestinians” or to change the nature of the Strip and reduce its area.
Omar Zara, a Palestinian researcher specializing in Israeli affairs, said “talk about (Palestinian migration) is seeing unprecedented public expansion.” Zara added: “They talk openly about (relocating Palestinians). The issue is no longer a popular speech under Smodrich. Instead, it has become the plans the Israelis want. To implement, they talk day and night about the need to evacuate large parts of the Gaza Strip.” Gaza is one of its residents. He explained, “This issue is not only related to the speech of two right-wing ministers, but also to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, who has accepted plans (to relocate Palestinians) and he has been trying to (relocate) them since the beginning of the war. These plans are for Egyptian and international rejection.” Palestinians) to go to Egypt.
The Israel Broadcasting Corporation quoted Smodrich as saying on Wednesday that “more than 70 percent of Israelis support the settlement of residents of the Gaza Strip.” The Israeli minister's statements came in response to U.S. criticism of earlier statements by him and National Defense Minister Ben Gvir, who spoke repeatedly about the exodus from the Gaza Strip.
A bold plan
The US secretary of state's visit to the region comes after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant laid out his “post-war” plan for Gaza on Thursday evening, under which there would be no “Hamas and Israeli civilian administration” in Palestine. Strip after the fight.
According to Galland's plan, Gaza's civilian administration would consist of 4 parties: Israel, the Palestinian Civil Forces, a multinational force, and Egypt. Palestinian local governments, if not hostile to Israel, would be the basis for civil administration mechanisms for the Strip.
Abdel Fattah Dawla, a spokesman for the Fatah movement, said Callant's proposals and visions for the future of governing the Gaza Strip after the war were “rejected and ineffective”. As the Arab World News Agency reported on Friday, a Fatah spokesman was quoted as saying, “Palestine will not be governed; It is our country that we decide and choose who should rule Palestine, not the Palestinians.
For his part, former Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Hussein Haridi said the priorities of Blingen's visit to the region were to discuss changing the approach of Israeli attacks in Gaza “toward qualitative operations in line with the American vision. High value and not leading to the downfall of a large number of civilians.” », discussing the post-war arrangements, especially the future of the regime in Gaza and who will fund reconstruction. Haridi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the US administration would “support the Egyptian-Qatar mediation, support any efforts that lead to the release of prisoners in the Gaza Strip and use it as political leverage.” US elections,” despite the difficulties facing negotiation efforts as a result of the recent escalation represented by al-Aruri's assassination, which undoubtedly cast a shadow over mediation efforts.
Last week, in response to the assassination of Israeli broadcaster “Makan”, al-Aruri, Egypt told the Israeli government to stop participating in mediation between Israel and the Palestinian factions, but a high-level Egyptian source said in reports. Egyptian news media declared on Wednesday that “there is no alternative to negotiation to resolve the crisis in the Gaza Strip,” stressing that unless Egypt mediates, “the severity of the crisis may worsen beyond estimates.” of all parties.”
Notably, the US-backed Egyptian-Qatar mediation approved the first cease-fire in the Strip on November 24.
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