“NWe do not want there to be any civilian casualties in Gaza or any other part of the world and we are making every effort to protect them,” said Blinken in a meeting in Riyadh with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan.
Blinken said he was working with Israeli authorities to “open safe corridors and establish safe zones so that civilians are not harmed by these attacks”, while insisting that the Jewish state “continues to exercise its legal and natural right to defend yourself.”
“The brutal crimes committed by Hamas are not acceptable. But Hamas does not speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, it is a terrorist organization whose goal is to destroy Israel,” said Blinken, who did not defend Israel’s military campaign against Gaza, in response to the attack by the Islamist group on October 7th.
An official source from the US Government, who is traveling with Blinken, spoke anonymously to the AP agency and said today that the US did not ask Israel to slow down or postpone the evacuation plan.
The official said discussions with Israeli leaders highlighted the importance of taking into account the safety of civilians as the Israeli military moved to enforce the evacuation order.
He added that Israeli leaders recognized the guidelines and took them into consideration.
On the other hand, he added that an agreement in principle was drawn up between Egypt, Israel and Qatar to allow Palestinian-Americans and other dual nationals in Gaza to cross the border with Egypt during a period of five hours on Saturday.
It is estimated that around 500 Americans live in Gaza, but this number is inaccurate, according to authorities.
However, the same source said it was not immediately clear whether Hamas would allow convoys of foreigners to reach the Rafah crossing unhindered.
While underlining Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens, Blinken repeated a warning to other countries and groups not to get involved.
“It is vitally important (…) that we work together to ensure that, to the best of our ability, this conflict does not spread to other places and to other fronts,” said Blinken.
For his part, the Saudi minister told the US that “civilians on both sides are those who suffer most” in this conflict and stressed that “it is important to refuse to target civilians” in attacks.
“We must focus on other priorities such as de-escalation and the ceasefire, as well as facilitating humanitarian work in Gaza to ensure that humanitarian aid arrives and is delivered,” said Bin Farhan.
The Saudi minister called for “working together to find a way out of this crisis” because “without a collective effort” the spiral of violence cannot be stopped.
Blinken arrived in Riyadh this morning, as part of a trip to the Middle East that took him to Israel, Jordan, Qatar and Bahrain, to highlight the United States’ “unwavering” support for the Jewish state and establish contacts to ensure that the conflict does not escalate. extend to other fronts.
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