US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony BlinkenState Department Photo by Freddie Everett

In advance of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the region, a senior State Department official says that the Biden administration is “relieved” that the violence has ended.

He told reporters that they worked behind the scenes to establish the ceasefire.

“We appreciate the roles of Egypt, Jordan and Qatar, and others,” says the official.

The Biden administration is “committed to all efforts for an everlasting peace.”

The most important thing is that the ceasefire holds. “We don't want to return to the bloodshed.”

“We're going to work with UN and PA to make sure relief assistance goes to the citizens of Gaza, to the people who need it the most,” he says.

When asked how the US government could work with the PA, which doesn’t control Gaza, he notes that they are presently working with the UN to create a “formula” to work with the PA.

“We're working through the UN to try to create a formula that will work with the PA,” he says. “We don't talk with Hamas. We hope that the PA will be able to act in Gaza.”

The US remains committed to the two-state solution. They aren’t wavering from that position, but the official says that it is premature to invite Israel or the PA for talks.

“The Secretary will be meeting the parties and hearing them and at this point focus on making sure the ceasefire holds,” he says.

“We don't see Hamas as someone with veto power in the Gaza Strip. The aid will be mainly going through the UN with the help of the PA.”

He notes that they don’t feel the destruction of Hamas’s capabilities is complete. "In terms of the destruction of Hamas capabilities, our sense is that it's not complete - they're still on the ground, they're still present. We take the commitments seriously and believe that the ceasefire will hold, at least in the near future."

The official was asked bout the violence and riots inside Israel, and says that the US is concerned noting that the US has dealt with similar challenges.