ARAB AND WORLD

Mon 10 Jun 2024 7:41 pm - Jerusalem Time

Blinken's meeting with Netanyahu begins in West Jerusalem

A bilateral meeting began on Monday evening, between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who is conducting an eighth tour of the region to discuss a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and the Hamas movement.


The Hebrew newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said, "The meeting that began a few minutes ago will continue until 15:50 GMT, and will be held in Netanyahu's office in West Jerusalem," without further details.


Earlier Monday, Blinken arrived in Cairo and agreed with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to strengthen efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip, and reviewed Egyptian efforts to implement humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza Strip, according to a statement from the Egyptian presidency.


Blinken said in a press conference before leaving Cairo for Israel that the plan currently on the table is the “optimal way” to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, release Israeli prisoners in Gaza, and “improve regional security.”


Blinken called on Hamas again to accept the plan, claiming that it “enjoys broad international support, and has been accepted by Israel,” according to the Associated Press.


The US State Department previously announced in a statement that Blinken will visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Qatar in the period between June 10 and 12.


Blinken's tour in the Middle East comes after US President Joe Biden presented, at the end of last May, the broad outlines of a proposal that he said was "Israeli" and included 3 stages of a ceasefire, ultimately stipulating a permanent cessation of hostilities and the release of Israeli detainees. In exchange for Palestinian prisoners, and the reconstruction of Gaza.


With the mediation of Qatar, Egypt and the United States, Hamas and Israel have been conducting faltering indirect negotiations for months to reach an agreement to exchange prisoners and stop the war on Gaza.


Efforts to reach the latest deal were hampered after Israel rejected it, claiming that it did not meet its conditions, and began a military operation on the city of Rafah on May 6, then took control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing the next day.



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Blinken's meeting with Netanyahu begins in West Jerusalem

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