Washington, DC – The United States on Friday (May 14) admitted being in touch with Middle Eastern countries and encouraging efforts by allies, especially Egypt, to bring about a much needed ceasefire to the escalating violence between Israel and the Palestine forces.
Answering a question from IAT (Tejinder Singh), Jalina Porter, Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the State Department briefing told journalists: “We are actively engaging Egypt as well as other regional partners to work towards achieving a sustainable calm in the region.”
Earlier answering other questions on the subject of escalating violence Porter said, “We remain deeply concerned about the current violence, and we are working towards achieving a sustainable calm.”
On the question of Deputy Assistant Secretary Hady Amr’s trip in the region, she said, “He is in Israel and the West Bank to engage with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials. As you know that Amr has decades of experience in this issue. His trip is a part of an ongoing high-level engagement by senior US officials on these critical issues. But while he’s there, he’ll reinforce our message that we have stressed in many senior level engagements with the parties and other stakeholders this past week, which of course namely achieving a sustainable calm.”
According to a readout of the call, Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shukry, with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi, while condemning Israeli attacks on Palestinian territory, called for both sides to avoid escalation and resorting to military means.
The call seems to have fallen on deaf ears for many reasons. Internal political equations are simmering as a new government forming process has been shelved and the present Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is nothing but a lame duck leader. There is talk from his supporters to keep him in the leadership position as the country faces this crisis.
This points to a simple answer for an eternal question asked by investigative journalists: Who benefits the most?
But when a journalist posed a question that Prime Minister Netanyahu may be using this crisis in order to bolster his domestic political standing as “There is no formal government. He’s in essence a prime – a lame duck prime minister right now. The efforts for Yair Lapid to form a government have been suspended because of the violence, and now Naftali Bennett, who is one of the prime minister’s supporters, is suggesting that perhaps Netanyahu should just simply stay in office open ended regardless of the last election’s results because of this existential threat to Israel’s security,” Porter gave an interesting answer.
Porter said she didn’t “have anything to offer specifically on your comment to Prime Minister Netanyahu,” but added, “As far as being concerned, I will say that we are deeply concerned about the current violence, and of course are working to achieving a sustainable calm. And this is what we’re encouraging from our side.Of course, we’ve been very clear that Hamas’s ongoing rocket attacks into civilian areas of Israel are completely unacceptable and that they must cease.”
The State Department spokesperson continued, “Israel has the right to defend itself from these rocket attacks, and both Israelis and Palestinians – I will just leave it there and kind of just reiterate that we are concerned. It remains that we’re deeply concerned about the violence that’s happening right now.”
The second equally important factor is the announcement from the administration of US President Joe Biden to engage with Iranians again and restore the nuclear deal.
With Hamas allegedly funded and supported by Iranian elements, its escalation of conflict with Israel is set to decelerate Iranian nuclear deal talks.
According to reports, Egypt’s diplomatic team is on the ground in Israel after talking to Hamas leaders.
The US state department in its staple statement reiterated the right of Israel to defend itself but failed to address the slow but steady grabbing of Palestinian land.
Even in this conflict one thing is certain, Palestinian infrastructure is going to suffer. The point to note is that most of it is funded and constructed with the large hearted and humanitarian efforts of the European Union.
Time for the European Union, especially the European Commission and the members of the European Parliament to bring a strong voice to the table so this off-on destruction can be stopped and peace can prevail.
Tejinder Singh was a veteran journalist who worked in Europe, India and the United States. He was the Founder and Editor of India America Today.