Blinken stresses US push for Gaza ceasefire in call with Palestinian President Abbas

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Monday for further Palestinian reforms after the naming of a government in a call with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, as Washington seeks a post-war solution in Gaza.

Blinken told Abbas that the United States “looks forward to working with the new PA cabinet to promote peace, security and prosperity and urged the implementation of necessary reforms,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

“Secretary Blinken emphasized that a revitalized PA is essential to delivering results for the Palestinian people in both the West Bank and Gaza,” he said.

Abbas last week approved a new government led by Mohammed Mustafa, his long-trusted adviser on economic affairs, with representation also for women and Palestinians from Gaza.

Since the war broke out in October, the United States has been pressing for the Palestinian Authority to root out corruption and bring in new faces in hopes that the PA, which has limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank, can take charge of Gaza as well following a defeat of Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long fought against a Palestinian state, and his hard-right government have made clear they are not interested in a role for the Palestinian Authority.

But Miller said Blinken “underscored the US commitment to the realization of the creation of an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel.”

Blinken spoke to Abbas shortly after the top US diplomat joined a virtual meeting with Israeli leaders on a planned offensive on Rafah, where more than half of Gaza’s population has taken shelter since the war.

The United States has warned Israel against an assault but has also maintained its support for Israel including shipments of weapons.

The bloodiest ever Gaza war erupted when Hamas launched its unprecedented October 7 attack which resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians.

Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed more than 32,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

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