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While on ABC News’ This Week, he told anchor George Stephanopoulos that the Biden administration’s “quiet diplomacy” brought an end to the devastating 11-day conflict.
“It was critical to get to the ceasefire, and President Biden’s focus on relentless, determined, but quiet diplomacy is what got us to where we needed to be, which is to get the violence ended as quickly as possible, to stop more human suffering and to at least put ourselves in position to make a turn to make a pivot to building something more positive, that has to start now with dealing with the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza,” he said.
An Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and Hamas took hold on Friday after the worst violence in years, with US President Joe Biden pledging to salvage the devastated Gaza Strip and the United Nations urging renewed Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
Israeli aerial bombardment of the densely populated enclave killed 232 Palestinians, damaged thousands of homes and disabled critical infrastructure. Gaza rocket attacks killed 12 people in Israel and wounded hundreds.
Secretary Blinken said the US would work to rebuild Gaza in the coming days and weeks.
“We’ve worked in the past, and we can continue to work with trusted independent parties that can help do the reconstruction and development, not some quasi-governmental authority. And the fact of the matter is, Hamas has brought nothing but ruin onto the Palestinian people, its gross mismanagement of Gaza, while it’s been in charge. And of course, these indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, which have elicited the response that they did, because Israel has a right to defend itself,” he said.
On Pres. Biden's goal to rebuild Gaza without restocking Hamas, @GStephanopoulos presses Sec. Blinken: "How do you do that? They're in charge in Gaza."
Sec. Blinken: "The real challenge here is to help...deliver better results for their people." https://t.co/e1frPTdidv pic.twitter.com/QipRAQAuTY
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 23, 2021
The latest fighting began when on May 10, when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem. The barrage came after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Heavy-handed police tactics at the compound and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers had inflamed tensions.
The bombardment struck a blow to the already decrepit infrastructure in the small coastal territory, home to more than 2 million Palestinians. It flattened high-rises and houses, tore up roads and wrecked water systems. At least 30 health facilities were damaged, forcing a halt to coronavirus testing in the territory.