US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s call for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to moderate the conflict does not appear to be succeeding for now, says Patrick Boulder, a security expert at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies (HCSS).
Secretary Blinken is touring various countries in the Middle East, he visited Israel on Friday and is currently in Turkey. “He’s trying to appease the Arab world a little bit, but it’s exciting to see how this goes, especially if there’s going to be a lot of civilian casualties in Gaza,” Boulder said.
However, the Turkish people were not happy with his visit, according to Middle East correspondent Tara Kenkuis. There were huge protests against his arrival. During his visit today, Blinken met with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, and will not speak with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “He traveled to the north of the country,” says Kenquis. “Some say to avoid Blinken.”
And the Turkish government and people are very critical of Israel, and “very critical of the support that America gives and has given,” he continues. Along the road Blinken drove, there were signs reading ‘Blinken Baby Killer’. But in the end he spoke to Fidan for two and a half hours, including that Turkey should be more moderate in its criticism of Israel.’
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There was another one yesterday blackout In Gaza, all internet, radio and telephone traffic was cut off. This was followed by heavy airstrikes by Israel. The Israeli military said in a daily update that 450 targets were hit in Gaza that day, including a Hamas leader. “It’s hard to monitor from here,” Boulder says.
Israel has called on residents of the Gaza Strip to move south. During yesterday’s break, about 350,000 to 400,000 civilians had to leave the north. But of course they didn’t all go. Many more are trapped. Because, according to Israel, the fleeing civilians include Hamas fighters, Israel doesn’t want to pause too long, Boulder explains.
‘There is literally a humanitarian disaster going on there. That’s why Jordan opened an air bridge. Emergency supplies are being dropped from cargo planes over refugee camps in Gaza.’
The heads of all major United Nations (UN) agencies called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in a joint statement yesterday. “It’s very necessary, but the US doesn’t want to push it hard because they’re giving Israel a chance to retaliate. And they said a break would give Hamas more room to regroup.
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According to Boulder, this is a complex issue. Because Israel keeps bombing Hamas, but when will it be enough? And how many human lives must that cost?’
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