US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )
Blinken's statement represents a marked shift in USA's stance as compared to that when Donald Trump was the president
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed his support to 'two-state solution' to resolve the Israel-Palestine issue that has been one of the major flashpoints in West Asia. His comment came just days ahead of his visit to the region. Two-state solution refers to the establishment of separate states for Israelis and Arabs in Palestine.
"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 News' "This Week."
“Ultimately I think that that hope, that security, that dignity will be found in a Palestinian state,” said Blinken in the course of the interview.Blinken's statement represents a marked shift in USA's stance as compared to that when Donald Trump was the president. Trump administration had cut aid to the Palestinian Authority and issued a Middle East peace plan with strong Israeli backing but no support from Palestinians.
However, the two-state solution is a long-time US goal.
The top US diplomat emphasized the need to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians while beginning a major effort at reconstruction.
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.
Israel and Hamas have agreed upon a ceasefire just days ago. The ceasefire ended 11 days of mutual bombardment that took lives on both sides.
'Something more positive'
Saying the ceasefire would help mark a pivot from violence to "something more positive," he added, "That has to start now with dealing with the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza.
"Then reconstruction, rebuilding what's been lost, and critically, engaging both sides in trying to start to make real improvements" in people's lives.
He was asked on ABC how the Biden administration could ensure that aid would go to ordinary Palestinians and not help the Hamas militants who launched thousands of rockets at Israel.
"We've worked in the past and we continue to work with trusted, independent parties that can help do the reconstruction and the development, not some quasi- government authority," he said.
"The real challenge here is to help the Palestinians and particularly to help the Palestinian Authority deliver better results for their people, and of course, Israel has a profound role to play in that too."
Israel's response to the Hamas rocket barrages has drawn sharp criticism from some liberal members of the US Congress who have questioned American arms sales to the Jewish state.
Asked about that, Blinken replied, "The president has been clear we're committed to giving Israel the means to defend itself... At the same time, any arms sale will be done in full consultation in Congress."
(With inputs from agencies)