By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday rejected the idea of the US calling for a ceasefire in Gaza when confronted with the massive number of child casualties in Israel’s onslaught.
“UNICEF says 1,524 children have been killed in the Gaza Strip during these bombings. Why isn’t the US calling for at least a temporary ceasefire?” Margaret Brennan, the host of CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” asked Blinken.
Blinken claimed that the death of children on both sides hits him “right in the heart” but did not criticize Israel’s vicious bombing campaign. He pointed to US efforts to get Israel to allow aid trucks to enter Gaza through Egypt, and Brennan then asked why the US isn’t pushing for at least a temporary ceasefire.
“Israel has to do everything it can to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Blinken said, referring to the October 7 Hamas attack. “Freezing things in place where they are now would allow Hamas to remain where it is and to repeat what it’s done some time in the future. No country could accept that,” Blinken said.
Blinken made a similar argument earlier this year when rejecting the idea of a ceasefire in Ukraine ahead of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, saying a pause in fighting would only benefit Russia. Now, it’s clear Ukraine’s counteroffensive has failed after months of brutal fighting and heavy Ukrainian casualties.
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During the interview with Brennan, Blinken also claimed it was Hamas’s fault that American citizens in Gaza could not leave despite the fact that the enclave is under Israeli blockade and Egypt has not been letting people enter its territory from its one border crossing with Gaza.
“We’ve had people come to Rafah, the crossing with Egypt. And to date, at least, Hamas has blocked them from leaving, showing once again, its total disregard for civilians of any kind who are — who are stuck in Gaza,” Blinken said. “So really, the ball is in Hamas’ court, in terms of letting people who want to leave, civilians from third countries, including Americans get out of Gaza.”
Despite Blinken’s claim, reports in recent days have said dual citizens were told to go to the Rafah border crossing but were not allowed into Egypt. According to a report from NBC News, there are up to 600 Americans stuck in Gaza, and they say they’re not receiving help from the US to get out. “America’s not helping us, Biden’s not helping us, the embassy is not helping us,” Amir Kaoud, a Palestinian-American at the Rafah crossing, told NBC.
Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.