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In first call with Palestinian president Abbas, Biden discusses support for humanitarian aid to Gaza

by Ryan Lee
5 comments
Humanitarian Aid Diplomacy

In his inaugural conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, President Joe Biden engaged in a discussion centered on the imperative of providing humanitarian assistance to Gaza. Concurrently, he reaffirmed his commitment to supporting endeavors aimed at safeguarding civilians in the region.

These conversations, taking place over the weekend in Washington, occurred in the midst of heightened diplomatic outreach by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken throughout the Middle East and beyond. The primary objective was to mobilize an international response to avert the escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Secretary Blinken’s diplomatic efforts encompassed meetings with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh and a subsequent visit to the United Arab Emirates. His aim was twofold: to address the dire humanitarian situation and facilitate the safe passage of civilians trapped amidst the ongoing hostilities. Additionally, Blinken engaged with his Chinese counterpart, given the urgent need for assistance as Palestinians sought refuge from the Israeli military’s actions in Gaza.

In parallel, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a discussion with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, emphasizing the paramount importance of protecting civilian lives. He shared updates on U.S. initiatives to bolster Israel’s air defense capabilities and munitions, with the overarching goal of curbing the escalation of the conflict.

These extensive efforts by the United States underscore the global concern regarding the welfare of civilians at risk and the potential consequences of a protracted conflict. While the Biden administration has not publicly called on Israel to exercise restraint in its response to the Hamas attack, it has consistently emphasized adherence to the rules of warfare.

Notably, President Biden’s conversation with President Abbas marked their first contact. Abbas, who presides over the Palestinian Authority governing the West Bank, provided a briefing on the efforts to deliver aid to the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza. During this conversation, President Biden reiterated that Hamas does not represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people for dignity and self-determination.

Subsequently, in his discussion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Biden reaffirmed unwavering U.S. support for Israel. He also apprised the Israeli leader of regional initiatives aimed at ensuring civilian access to essential necessities such as food, water, and medical care.

The gravity of the situation is evident in the rising number of casualties among U.S. citizens and the broader population. Efforts are ongoing to ensure the safety of those affected, including lawful permanent residents.

Secretary Blinken’s outreach to Saudi Arabia and the UAE stressed the urgent need for humanitarian assistance and the facilitation of safe passage for those wishing to leave Gaza. The priority on minimizing harm to civilians was paramount, reflecting the shared interest of the U.S. and its regional partners in stabilizing the region.

In Riyadh, Secretary Blinken emphasized Israel’s legitimate right to defend its people while emphasizing the importance of protecting civilians. The Saudi Minister expressed commitment to safeguarding civilian lives and condemned the targeting of civilians by any party.

It’s worth noting that the U.S. did not request Israel to delay or halt its evacuation plan. Instead, discussions emphasized the importance of considering the safety of civilians as Israel executed the evacuation directive.

In terms of facilitating the departure of Americans and other foreigners from Gaza, an agreement was negotiated, but the Rafah border crossing remained closed, causing uncertainty for those seeking to leave. The U.S. State Department authorized the departure of nonemergency U.S. government personnel and their families from diplomatic posts in the region.

Prince Faisal underscored the urgency of ending the violence between Israel and Hamas, emphasizing the need for concerted efforts to break the cycle of conflict and protect civilians on both sides.

Secretary Blinken’s visit to the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, representing the three Abrahamic faiths, served as a symbolic gesture of unity and hope amid the ongoing turmoil.

Secretary Blinken’s diplomatic endeavors continue with planned visits to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, underscoring the commitment of the United States to contribute to regional stability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Humanitarian Aid Diplomacy

What were the main topics of discussion in President Biden’s conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas?

In their conversation, President Biden and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas primarily discussed the urgent need for humanitarian aid to Gaza. President Biden also reiterated that Hamas does not represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people for dignity and self-determination.

What was the focus of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s diplomatic outreach in the Middle East?

Secretary Blinken’s primary focus was on rallying international support to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from escalating further. He engaged in discussions centered on providing humanitarian assistance and ensuring safe passage for civilians trapped in the conflict.

What steps did Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin take regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict?

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin emphasized the importance of safeguarding civilian lives in his conversation with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant. He also provided updates on U.S. efforts to enhance Israel’s air defense capabilities and munitions to prevent the escalation of the conflict.

Did the U.S. government publicly call on Israel to exercise restraint in its response to the Hamas attack?

No, the Biden administration did not publicly call on Israel to exercise restraint. However, they consistently emphasized Israel’s commitment to following the rules of warfare.

How is the U.S. addressing the safety of American citizens and foreign nationals in Gaza?

Efforts are underway to facilitate the safe evacuation of U.S. citizens and other foreigners from Gaza. The U.S. State Department authorized the departure of nonemergency U.S. government personnel and their families from diplomatic posts in the region.

What was the focus of Secretary Blinken’s visit to the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi?

Secretary Blinken’s visit to the Abrahamic Family House symbolized unity and hope amid the ongoing conflict. The complex represents the three Abrahamic faiths – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism – and his visit aimed to underscore the importance of religious tolerance and coexistence.

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5 comments

FinanceGuru007 October 15, 2023 - 4:58 am

Defense Sec Austin talk w/ Israel Def Min, stress protect civilians, boost air defense, prevent war escalate. Important stuff.

Reply
SeriousObserver123 October 15, 2023 - 11:05 am

Blinken doing major diplomacy in Mid East, seek intl response 2 stop war, meeting Saudi FM, UAE visit, also call China 4 help. Impressive!

Reply
PoliticalJunkie October 15, 2023 - 4:56 pm

US not say Israel stop, but stress war rules, while civilians suffer. Biden talk to Abbas 1st time, say Hamas not 4 Palestinians. Netanyahu get support, talk aid, food, water, med care.

Reply
JohnDoe82 October 15, 2023 - 7:05 pm

wow, prez Biden talk to Palestine prez Abbas and Israeli PM Netany, urge them 4 humanitarian aid, try to protect ppl, gud move!

Reply
CitizenConcerned October 15, 2023 - 8:17 pm

US work on safe exit 4 Americans in Gaza, but Rafah border closed. State Dept let some leave. Blinken visit House of Abraham, symbol unity, nice gesture in tough time.

Reply

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