US Secretary of State Antony Blinken doubled down on the United States' opposition to a ceasefire in Gaza as he met with key Middle Eastern leaders Saturday, saying it was the US’ view that a ceasefire now would leave Hamas able to regroup and attack Israel again.
The US resistance to calls for a ceasefire has put it at odds with its Arab partners, including those with whom he met in Amman, Jordan.
Fears of an expanded conflict: Blinken said he and his counterparts “all agreed on the importance of using our respective influence and capabilities to deter any state or non-state actor from opening another front in this conflict.”
“Throughout this conflict, countries across the Middle East and beyond have played an essential role in preventing its spread,” Blinken said at a news conference in Amman.
The US has repeatedly warned other foes of Israel — including Hezbollah, which has voiced support for Hamas and exchanged fire with Israeli troops across the border with Lebanon but not directly intervened on Hamas' behalf — not to broaden the conflict into a wider war in the Middle East.
The US and its Arab partners share “the same fundamental interests and objectives” to end the Israel-Hamas war “in a way that ensures lasting peace and security in the region,” Blinken said following the summit, while acknowledging “we may have different views and positions” on how to achieve that end.
The top US diplomat said all parties reaffirmed their commitment to working together on the issue.
West Bank attacks: Blinken said he also spoke with the Arab leaders about the need to protect Palestinian civilians amid increasing attacks by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
He updated his counterparts on his talks with Israeli officials yesterday, where he said he “underscored that incitement and extremist violence must be stopped and perpetrators must be held accountable.”