Blinken discusses cease-fire proposal with Palestine premier

Blinken discusses cease-fire proposal with Palestine premier

State Department announces $404 million in new humanitarian aid for Palestinians in occupied West Bank, besieged Gaza Strip, elsewhere in region

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the details of a proposed "comprehensive" cease-fire agreement with Palestine Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa on Tuesday.

Blinken stressed the benefits of the deal for Palestinians and Israelis during meetings with Mustafa, reiterating "that Hamas should accept the proposal without further delay," spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

"Secretary Blinken welcomed reform announcements by the Palestinian Authority and discussed with Prime Minister Mustafa the need for full and consistent implementation of those reforms to achieve the aspirations of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza," Miller said in a readout of the closed-door meeting.

"He reaffirmed the United States’ support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel," he added.

The US State Department separately announced $404 million in new humanitarian assistance for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, besieged Gaza Strip and elsewhere in the region.

"This new funding will provide essential support to vulnerable Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the region, including food, safe drinking water, health care, protection, education, shelter, and psychosocial support. The United States remains committed to addressing the humanitarian needs of those affected by the crisis," it said in a separate statement.

"We urge other donors to contribute to the humanitarian response in Gaza and the region, increase support to those affected by the conflict, and work together to find lasting solutions to the crisis," it added.

Israel has faced international condemnation for its continued sweeping offensive against Gaza that has reduced wide swathes of the coastal territory to ruins amid shortages of necessities and ongoing Israeli restrictions on aid deliveries.

Nearly 37,200 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October, most of them women and children, and more than 84,800 others injured, according to local health authorities. Less than 1,200 people were killed in the cross-border raid led by Hamas on Oct. 7 that precipitated the current war.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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