Middle East

Abbas rejects any proposals to relocate Palestinians from Gaza during meeting with Blinken

From CNN’s Kareem Khadder and Eyad Kourdi

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for the immediate end to hostilities and rejected any attempt to relocate Palestinians from Gaza in a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ramallah, according to a readout of the meeting reported by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Abbas discussed the importance of efforts to “stop the Israeli aggression” against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the importance of “accelerating the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip,” according to the report.

He also highlighted statements made by Israeli ministers and officials that “call for the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their land,” and stressed his government’s “complete rejection of the displacement of any Palestinian citizen” in Gaza or the West Bank.

Far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has advocated for Palestinians leaving Gaza – saying after criticism of his comment that it should be “voluntary” – while Israeli President Isaac Herzog Sunday told NBC that the resettlement of Palestinians out of Gaza is “outright, officially and unequivocally” not Israel’s position.

Abbas told Blinken that any plans by the Israeli government to separate or divide the Gaza Strip would be unacceptable. He said that the conflict needs to end in order for an internationally legitimate political solution, including the creation of a Palestinian state, to be implemented, according to the statement.

Blinken, in meetings with Israeli government leaders Tuesday, had said the Israeli government must move toward a two-state solution if it wants the help of Arab partners in the region with lasting security. He also stressed that Palestinians must be allowed to return to their homes in Gaza “as soon as conditions allow” and must not be displaced from the enclave,

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