Blinken meets Palestinian leader after urging Israel to spare Gaza civilians


Ramallah, Palestinian Territories, Jan 10 (AFP/APP/DNA): Israel kept bombing Gaza on Wednesday as US top diplomat Antony Blinken met the head of the Palestinian Authority, which Washington hopes could govern the coastal territory after the war ends.

As the US secretary of state arrived under tight security in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, protesters held up signs that read “Stop the genocide”, “Free Palestine” and “Blinken out”.

Blinken then met Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, who was later set to discuss a “push for an immediate ceasefire” in talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba.

The bloodiest ever Gaza war started by the October 7 attack on southern Israel has raged on for more than three months and killed over 23,000 people in the Strip.

Global concern has flared over the spiralling humanitarian crisis, and Blinken — while voicing continued US political and military support for top regional ally Israel — has urged steps to reduce the surging civilian death toll.

Dire shortages brought by an Israeli siege mean the “daily toll on civilians in Gaza, particularly children, is far too high,” Blinken said on Tuesday at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.