Politics

Blinken Offers Hamas Host Qatar U.S. ‘Commitment’ to a ‘Palestinian State’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, on Tuesday that the administration of leftist President Joe Biden rejects “any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza” and has made a “commitment” to the “establishment of a Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a readout.

Blinken held talks in Doha with Sheikh Tamim on a day of whirlwind meetings in the Middle East that also included a stop in Cairo, Egypt, where Blinken reportedly offered President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi similar tidings of “commitment to establishing a Palestinian state that provides peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” Blinken also repeated the call for a state of “Palestine” during a press conference alongside his Qatari counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, describing such a state as “a very powerful path that we can see before us to actually get to lasting peace and security.”

Blinken did not offer details on where the borders of such a state would be or who would govern it. The disputed “Palestinian” territories typically recognized are the West Bank, governed by the Palestinian Authority, and Gaza, under the rule of the genocidal jihadist terror organization Hamas.

The secretary of state is expected in Israel on Wednesday to meet with senior Israeli officials, likely once again raising his call for giving the populations of Gaza and the West Bank recognition as one country.

The repeated chatter of the establishment of a “Palestine” follows reports in late January that Blinken asked State Department officials to review options to recognize the state unilaterally.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards a plane Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at Joint Base Andrews, MD, en route to Saudi Arabia as part of his fifth urgent trip to the Middle East since the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza erupted in October. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

Blinken and other senior members of the Biden administration had spent much of 2023 campaigning for a “Palestinian state” but have advocated for such a creation with significantly more urgency since Hamas executed the unprecedented terrorist attacks on October 7, in which members of the terrorist organization invaded Israel and killed an estimated 1,200 people, many of them massacred in their own homes, tortured, raped, and mutilated.

Hamas advocates for the creation of a state of “Palestine” through the complete destruction of Israel, as expressed in the group’s charter.

Some anti-Israel factions around the world have also elevated calls for a “Palestinian state” — notably the government of Saudi Arabia, which went from downplaying the issue prior to the terrorist attack to demanding that Israel concede East Jerusalem to “Palestine” in November. Qatar — which hosts Hamas’s “political office” and hosted the Taliban prior to the 2021 fall of Kabul — has nebulously demanded the “resolving” of the “occupation” of alleged Palestinian territories and accused Israel of “genocide” for engaging in self-defense operations against Hamas.

According to the State Department, Blinken emphasized Biden’s interest in a Palestinian state in talks with both the leaders of Egypt and Qatar.

“The Secretary reiterated the U.S. rejection of any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and underscored the U.S. commitment to establishing durable peace in the Middle East,” the State Department said of Blinken’s meeting with the emir of Qatar, “including the establishment of a Palestinian state that ensures security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

In his talks with Sisi, the State Department repeated the message nearly verbatim: Blinken “emphasized the United States’ rejection of any forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and commitment to establishing a Palestinian state that provides peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Speaking to reporters directly on Tuesday — in a press conference in which he was repeatedly asked if he was too “nice” and making America look “weak” — Blinken insisted on creating a situation in which “an Israel that is integrated into the region with security guarantees from its neighbors and partners” exists “alongside a practical, timebound, irreversible path to a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with Israel, with the necessary security arrangements for both peoples.”

Blinken and Abbas (Jaafar Ashtiyeh / Associated Press)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/Pool Photo via AP)

Blinken also claimed that neighboring Saudi Arabia had a “strong interest” in normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel, but “in order to do that two things are required: an end to the conflict in Gaza and a clear, credible, time-bound path to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

The requirement of a Palestinian state appears to be a significant diplomatic change for Riyadh. In September, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman failed to mention a Palestinian state in an interview with Fox News.

“For us, the Palestinian issue is very important,” Bin Salman said at the time. “We need to solve that part. … We hope that it will reach a place that it will ease the life of the Palestinians, and get Israel back as a player in the Middle East.”

In Israel on Wednesday, Blinken is likely to again insist on the Palestinian state with no clear leadership, geographical definition, or institutional structure. In January, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blinken reportedly “reiterated the need to ensure lasting, sustainable peace for Israel and the region, including by the realization of a Palestinian state.”

Polling in Israel indicates that the creation of a Palestinian state is highly unpopular, particularly in light of the October 7 attacks.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.



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