Blinken reaffirms 'unwavering' US support for Israel at Munich Security Conference

'There is an extraordinary opportunity in front of Israel,' says US Secretary of State

Blinken warns dehumanising an enemy means 'anything is possible'

Blinken warns dehumanising an enemy means 'anything is possible'
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken refused to call for a ceasefire in Gaza on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Mr Blinken restated Washington’s “unwavering support” for Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, while taking part in a panel discussion with the German and Indian foreign ministers.

More than 28,800 Palestinians have been killed in the densely populated enclave since Israel launched its air and ground assault following Hamas’s attack on southern Israel on October 7 when Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people and abducted 240.

The US has been Israel’s biggest ally throughout the war, twice vetoing UN resolutions calling for a ceasefire and sending weapons and ammunition to the Israeli military.

But as the war has dragged on, calls for a ceasefire have amplified both domestically and abroad.

Speaking just before Mr Blinken at the security conference, Wang Yi, Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called for a ceasefire and an “accelerated state of Palestine.”

Mr Wang said that “generations of Palestinians have been displaced”. Addressing the Munich Security Conference. Mr Wang said that recent events proved that “the question of Palestine is at the heart of the Middle East”.

Mr Blinken, seated alongside Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and India’s Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said he believed that a path forward that saw Israel integrated into region remained possible.

“I think there's an extraordinary opportunity for Israel in the months ahead … starting with the fact that virtually every Arab country now genuinely wants to integrate Israel into the region to normalise relations if they haven't already done so,” Mr Blinken said.

The secretary has made five trips to the region since October 7. In recent visits he has been pushing hard for Israel to reduce civilian casualties and to allow more aid to reach those in need.

Despite his efforts Israel's military campaign contiues unnabted and appears to be bearing down on Rafah, a city of about 280,000 people before the war that has now swelled to more than 1.4 million people as Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes elsewhere in Gaza.

Washington has said Israel should not embark on a military campaign in the southern city until it has put together a detailed plan on how to protect civilians.

Updated: February 17, 2024, 3:51 PM