US pushes for Gaza peace: Blinken visits Israel and Egypt to secure ceasefire

US pushes for Gaza peace

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday (June 10) urged Arab leaders to pressure Hamas into accepting a ceasefire proposal outlined ten days ago by US President Joe Biden, aimed at ending the eight-month-long war in Gaza.

On his eighth visit to the region since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Blinken is pushing for a ceasefire deal and seeking to prevent the conflict from spreading to Lebanon.

Blinken, as per Reuters, said that Hamas remains the only outlier in not accepting the three-phase deal involving the release of hostages and cessation of hostilities, a proposal to which Israel has agreed.

"My message to governments throughout the region, to people throughout the region, is if you want a ceasefire, press Hamas to say yes," Blinken told reporters in Egypt after meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Talking to Reuters, a senior Hamas official called Blinken's comments "biased to Israel."

US Secretary of State Blinken returns to W. Asia on peace mission amid Israeli resignations

Blinken in Israel

After Egypt, Blinken travelled to Israel, where he updated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on "ongoing diplomatic efforts to plan for the post-conflict period."

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a readout of the meeting that Blinken also "reiterated that the proposal on the table would unlock the possibility of calm along Israel's northern border and further integration with countries in the region."

Ceasefire talks have intensified following Biden's proposal, with CIA director William Burns engaging with Qatari and Egyptian officials in Doha. Despite repeated assertions from Biden about imminent ceasefires, only a single week-long truce occurred in November. On Monday, the United Nations Security Council also overwhelmingly backed Biden's proposal.