Blinken discusses efforts to ‘minimize civilian losses’ in Gaza with Palestinian Authority chief
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed “ongoing efforts to minimize harm to civilians” and increased humanitarian aid in Gaza during a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the State Department said Case.
Blinken met Abbas in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday as part of a week-long Middle East trip aimed at easing regional tensions.
The United Nations has appointed Sigrid Kaag as senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza as part of efforts to reduce civilian harm, according to a statement from State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.
Death toll rises: Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed at least 23,210 Palestinians and injured 59,167 more since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, accounting for 1% of the enclave’s total pre-war population of 2.27 million above.
In December, U.S. intelligence agencies revealed that nearly half of the air-to-surface munitions used by Israel in Gaza were unguided munitions, and President Joe Biden said support for Israel’s military operations would be undermined by “indiscriminate bombing.”
This prompted world leaders to warn Israel to change its military strategy and limit civilian casualties.
CNN was unable to independently confirm the data provided by Gaza’s health ministry due to restrictions on access to the area and the difficulty of verifying accurate data during the ongoing conflict.
tax income: Blinken also discussed issues related to Israel’s withholding of Palestinian self-government taxes since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.
Under the existing agreement, Israel collects taxes on Palestinian imports and exports on behalf of the Palestinian self-government. Since October 7, the Israeli government has refused to distribute the full amount of taxes collected, which the Palestinian Authority uses mainly to pay the salaries of public officials and retirees.
“All Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel must be transferred to the Palestinian Autonomous Government on an ongoing basis in accordance with previous agreements,” the statement said.
He also discussed U.S. efforts to address extremist violence in the West Bank.
“The United States supports practical steps to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel, in which both countries live in peace and security,” the statement concluded.