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Blinken visits Middle East to promote Gaza ceasefire deal

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaks to reporters after his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, at Cairo airport, Egypt, Monday, June 10, 2024..
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaks to reporters after his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, at Cairo airport, Egypt, Monday, June 10, 2024.. Copyright Amr Nabil/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Amr Nabil/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By David O'Sullivan with AP
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Cairo on Monday as a proposal for a ceasefire deal approved by President Joe Biden hangs in the balance.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Cairo on Monday as a proposal for a ceasefire deal approved by President Joe Biden hangs in the balance.

Blinken has said Hamas was the last group that needed to accept a three-phase peace proposal involving the release of hostages and an end to fighting.

“If you want a cease-fire, press Hamas to say yes,” he told reporters before leaving the Egyptian capital on the trip that will take him to Israel, Jordan and Qatar.

The US foreign policy chief commented that the deal — which was proposed to Hamas 10 days ago — has international support, with Israel already accepting its terms.

His comments come a day after the Gaza health ministry reported at least 274 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed in the Israeli air and ground raid that rescued four hostages held by Hamas.  

The ministry added that a further 700 people had been wounded in the operation.  

In reaction to the news out of Gaza, the EU's top foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, said on X the EU "condemns this in the strongest terms" and that "the bloodbath must end immediately". 

His comments came following the resignation of Israeli official Benny Gantz, a centrist member of Israel’s war cabinet on Sunday.

Gantz accused Netanyahu of mismanaging the war effort and putting his own political needs over the countries.

Gadi Eisenkot, a former Israeli chief of staff and observer in the War Cabinet, also announced his resignation on Sunday.

Netanyahu controls a majority coalition in Israel's parliament and is therefore not immediately impacted by Gantz' departure. Within his own parliament however, he might find himself more reliant on far-right allies who oppose the US backed ceasefire deal.

UN Security Council adopts a ceasefire resolution

The UN Security Council on Monday approved its first resolution endorsing a ceasefire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The US-sponsored resolution welcomes a ceasefire proposal announced by President Joe Biden that the United States says Israel has accepted. It calls on the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which initially said it viewed the proposal “positively,” to accept the three-phase plan.

Hamas responded to the adoption by saying it welcomed the resolution and was ready to work with mediators in indirect negotiations with Israel to implement it. The statement was among the strongest from Hamas to date but stressed the group would continue “our struggle” to end the Israeli occupation and work on setting up a “fully sovereign” Palestinian state.

The resolution urges Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

The resolution — which was approved overwhelmingly with 14 of the 15 Security Council members voting in favor and Russia abstaining — also calls on Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

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