Secretary of State Blinken:
'US understands Israel wants its soldiers - but Gaza needs hope'

US Secretary of State warned Israel that evicting Arab squatters in Sheikh Jarrah and law enforcement on Temple Mount could lead to violence

David Rosenberg ,

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Israeli leaders that evicting Arab squatters from Jewish-owned property in eastern Jerusalem could lead to a resurgence in violence, as could Israeli law enforcement efforts on the Temple Mount.

Speaking with Walla! on Thursday following his visit to Jerusalem, Blinken said that he expressed concern during talks with senior Israeli leaders that Israeli actions both in the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood (Sheikh Jarrah) in eastern Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount could lead to another wave of violence in the region.

Dozens of Arab squatters living on Jewish-owned property in Shimon HaTzadik facing eviction have become a cause célèbre for anti-Israel rioters both inside and outside of Israel.

Rioters on the Temple Mount at the end of Ramadan earlier this month hurled stones on Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall, prompting Israeli police to intervene – a move Israel’s critics have claimed sparked the latest round of fighting between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.

According to the report Thursday, Blinken also urged Israel to move forward with permitting large-scale aid to the Gaza Strip and other steps designed to ‘give hope’ to Gazans. Blinken said these concerns trump Israel’s years-long effort to secure the release of several civilians and the remains of two IDF soldiers being held by Hamas in Gaza.

“There is a desperate need in Gaza to give hope – that is the only way to prevent another war.”