Blinken visits West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority president Abbas amid calls for ceasefire (nbcnews.com)
Dozens reported killed in blast at Gaza refugee camp; Israel says investigating (Reuters)
Arab leaders push for immediate ceasefire in talks with Blinken, who continues advocating “pauses” (AP News)
Pope and demonstrators around the world call for immediate ceasefire (BBC News)
Israel claims Hamas using civilian sites like hospitals to launch attacks; Hamas denies (CNN)
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to the West Bank on Sunday to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, amid calls for a ceasefire and concerns over increasing violence in the occupied territory (NBC News, CBS News). According to the State Department, Blinken and Abbas discussed efforts to restore calm in the West Bank and the need to prevent further extremist violence against Palestinians (New York Times).
Blinken’s West Bank visit came after overnight strikes killed dozens at a refugee camp in Gaza, according to Palestinian officials (Reuters). Gaza’s Health Ministry, run by Hamas, said an Israeli airstrike hit the Al-Maghazi camp, killing over 40 people. Israel said it was investigating the circumstances around the explosion (CNN). Earlier, Blinken met with regional leaders in Jordan, who pushed for an immediate Gaza ceasefire. But Blinken continued advocating for temporary “humanitarian pauses,” not a full ceasefire, saying it would allow Hamas to regroup (AP News, BBC News).
The humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire, with shortages of food, water, fuel and electricity. Displaced people fleeing south have exacerbated the crisis. UN officials warn Gaza residents are surviving on limited bread rations (PBS NewsHour). Pope Francis and demonstrators globally appealed for an immediate ceasefire (BBC News, The Wall Street Journal).
Gaza’s Health Ministry claims over 9,700 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began. Hamas said over 60 hostages are missing after Israeli bombings, a claim Israel hasn’t verified (NBC News). Israel says Hamas uses civilian sites like hospitals to launch attacks. Hamas denies this (CNN). Critics say Israel’s strikes and blockade are disproportionate given the civilian toll. Israel says it aims to minimize civilian harm while targeting Hamas (AP News).
Other actors like the U.S., Arab states, the Palestinian Authority, and UN have roles to play in securing a ceasefire, addressing Gaza’s post-war governance, and reducing violence in the occupied West Bank (New York Times). But so far, efforts to de-escalate the crisis have made little progress.