Blinken, Palestinian officials discuss implementation of UN resolution for Gaza cease-fire

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Location: www.aa.com.tr

RAMALLAH, Palestine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met on Tuesday with Palestinian leaders to discuss the implementation of a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

“We discussed the necessity of implementing the recent Security Council resolution to stop the war in Gaza immediately,” Hussein Sheikh, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, said on X.

The UN Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution supporting a Gaza cease-fire proposal outlined by US President Joe Biden last month.

Tuesday’s meeting, held on the sidelines of a Jordan-hosted emergency aid conference for Gaza, was also attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa and presidential adviser Majdi Khalidi.

The Palestinian officials also addressed the continued confiscation of Palestinian funds by Israel.

These funds, known as maqasa, are collected by the Israeli government on behalf of the Palestinian Authority on Palestinian imports and exports and Israel in return earns a commission of 3%.

The revenues are estimated to total around $220 million every month and represent the main source of income for the PA.

Sheikh reiterated the critical need for Israel to return these funds.

The World Bank has warned that the financial situation of the Palestinian Authority has significantly deteriorated in recent months, increasing the risk of a fiscal collapse.

Last week, the Shin Bet domestic security agency warned that the Israeli government policies against the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank may lead to its collapse.

The meeting also covered the ongoing violence by illegal Israeli settlers and the frequent incursions into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.

Palestinian officials accuse Israel of accelerating efforts to Judaize East Jerusalem and erase its Arab and Islamic identity.

Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, based on international resolutions that do not recognize Israel's occupation and annexation of the city in 1967 and 1981, respectively.

The Palestinian officials stressed to Blinken that “lasting security, peace, and stability can only be achieved through a political solution based on international legitimacy and law.”

Blinken's current regional tour included Egypt, Israel and Jordan. He will also visit Qatar.

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.

Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas attack despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

Nearly 37,200 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and more than 84,800 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands 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 over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

*Writing by Mohammad Sio

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