Blinken: U.S. in No Rush to Relaunch Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -
Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (Al Drago/Pool via AP)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Washington is not in any rush to relaunch peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians as tensions continue to abate in the wake of the fighting last week between Hamas terrorists and the IDF.

Speaking to multiple U.S. broadcasters Sunday, Blinken stressed that peace talks were “not the immediate order of business” for the Biden administration, which is currently more focused on providing humanitarian aid to civilians in the Palestinian Authority.

“In the first instance, we’ve got to deal with the humanitarian situation, which is grave in Gaza,” Blinken said. “We’ve got to start to bring countries together to support reconstruction and development.”

While vowing to continue its “deep engagement” with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to “advance a genuine peace process,” Blinken acknowledged that there is “a lot of work to do to get to that point.”

Blinken also stressed the U.S. aims to treat both Israel and the Palestinians with “equal measures” and that each side is entitled to respect and “dignity.”

“It’s incumbent upon all of us to try to make the turn to start to build something more positive. And what that means at heart is that Palestinians and Israelis alike have to know in their day-in and day-out lives equal measures of opportunity, of security, of dignity,” he said.

His remarks came days after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire, halting 11 days of deadly fighting.

“If there isn’t positive change, and particularly if we can’t find a way to help Palestinians live with more – with more dignity and with more hope – this cycle is likely to repeat itself, and that is in no one’s interest,” Blinken said on ABC.

The State Department announced Thursday that Blinken will travel to the Middle East “in the coming days,” with plans to meet with Israeli, Palestinian and regional counterparts.