Amid global calls for restraint, Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas have continued to trade rockets and missiles for the past week. 10 Israelis have been killed, and around 200 Palestinians, including at least 58 children, have lost their lives, according to Palestinian sources.
Blinken announced on Monday that the US has “been working around the clock through diplomatic channels to try to bring an end to the conflict.” Speaking at a joint briefing with Denmark’s foreign minister in Copenhagen, Blinken said that the Biden administration was working “intensely,” in a “behind the scenes” effort to restore peace to the region.
“We are ready to lend support if the parties… seek a ceasefire,” Blinken added, calling on both sides to protect civilians.
Neither side has openly expressed interest in a ceasefire, though the BBC on Monday cited local media reports that Hamas had approached Israeli officials with an offer to cease hostilities, only to be rebuffed. In a televised address on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country’s bombing campaign on Gaza would continue in “full force,” and that Israel “wants to levy a heavy price” on Hamas.
And despite Blinken’s appeal for calm, the Biden administration is pressing ahead with a massive arms sale to Israel. According to a Washington Post report that broke hours before his speech in Copenhagen, the administration officially notified Congress on May 5 – a week before Hamas’ rocket offensive on Israel began – that it intends to sell $735 million worth of weapons to the Jewish state.
The bulk of the shipment, the Post reported, consists of Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMS) kits. These kits bolt onto ordinary ‘dumb’ bombs, transforming them into precision-guided munitions.
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