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Blinken Announces $404m aid to Gaza, urges Hamas to accept cease-fire deal

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced an additional $404 million in aid to Gaza during his visit to Jordan on Tuesday.

Blinken urged Hamas to accept the current cease-fire proposal “without delay” while engaging in talks with Middle Eastern leaders. This appeal comes as part of Blinken’s broader tour across the region aimed at negotiating a cease-fire and a hostages exchange after months of escalating violence and high death tolls in the Gaza Strip.

The announcement follows a U.S.-sponsored U.N. Security Council resolution backing the cease-fire plan, which Hamas has welcomed. On Tuesday, Blinken met with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa. He emphasized that the proposed cease-fire would benefit both Israelis and Palestinians.

Discussions focused on the critical need for humanitarian aid, securing the release of hostages, and allowing displaced individuals to return home.

Blinken reiterated the U.S. support for an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel. He also called for increased international support to Gaza, highlighting the dire situation in hospitals and the need for immediate aid delivery.

The additional funding will provide essential support to vulnerable Palestinians, including food, safe drinking water, health care, education, and shelter. This pledge adds to the more than $1.8 billion the U.S. has provided to Palestinians since 2021.

Hamas has indicated its readiness to negotiate the cease-fire plan, which includes a six-week truce, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, the exchange of hostages, and a surge in humanitarian aid. Blinken expressed confidence that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would adhere to the deal if Hamas agrees, stressing that the responsibility for continued bloodshed would lie with Hamas if it rejects the proposal.

Blinken’s diplomatic efforts also included meetings with Israeli leaders, who underscored the importance of securing an agreement to release hostages and achieve a lasting cease-fire.

The situation remains critical, with 120 hostages still held in Gaza, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

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