| 26 February 2024, Monday |

Blinken: ‘Sheikh Jarrah could lead to war, situation not ready for peace’

Expulsion of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah and increasing tension at Al-Aqsa Mosque, raise the concerns of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, warning that it could lead to a new war.
Speaking to Israeli Walla! news website, Blinken stated that the US understands the necessity to return Israeli soldiers captive in Gaza to their homes and that the US will help.
However, he rejected linking this to the reconstruction of Gaza, which: “Has urgent needs and we should give them hope.” Blinken noted: “This is the only way to prevent a new war.”
Blinken confirmed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “is still going on and needs to be treated,” pointing out that the Biden administration “does not think the current situation is ready for making major progress in the peace process” due to the political crisis in Israel and the PA’s internal instability.
He remarked that the Israeli-PA conflict could not “disappear miraculously” and that all sides “must recognise this reality.” He stressed that the most urgent issue is maintaining the ceasefire in Gaza and rebuilding it in order to tone down tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The US official said that he heard Israeli officials speaking about their desire to maintain the ceasefire, as well as the Egyptian president and officials stating that Hamas is also interested in upholding it.
“This is very important,” he added, stressing that intentional and non-intentional measures that could ignite new tension should be avoided.
He reiterated that rebuilding Gaza must be carried out jointly among the United Nations, the PA and Egypt.