US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made an unannounced visit to the West Bank. He spoke for about an hour in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about the future of Gaza. “We also need to think about this now. For the Americans, it could be an option for the Palestinian president’s party to be present in Gaza again after this war,” VTM News journalist Robin Ramaekers explains.
Nov 5 2023
Blinken and Abbas did not speak to the press afterwards, but their spokespersons did provide an explanation. Abbas is said to have indicated that there must be an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and that humanitarian aid must be allowed. The American minister in turn said that the US also wants to ensure that aid supplies can go to Gaza, according to his spokesman. He is also said to have expressed support for “the Palestinians’ legitimate aspiration for a Palestinian state.”
Blinken’s visit on Sunday was accompanied by strict security measures. News channel Al Jazeera reports that small-scale demonstrations took place in Ramallah against the violence in Gaza and the role of the US.
After the war
Blinken recently indicated that the US and other countries are already considering the future of the Gaza Strip. He told US senators in late October that Abbas’s Palestinian Authority could potentially govern that area. “We currently need to think about the political future after the war,” said Robin Ramaekers.
Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been controlled by the extremist Palestinian organization Hamas. Abbas’s Fatah movement controls the Palestinian territories in the West Bank.
No perspective whatsoever
According to Ramaekers, there is also “no prospect whatsoever” for the Palestinians on the West Bank at the moment. The reporter and his team visited the Palestinian city of Nablus, the heart of the Palestinian resistance on the West Bank, where he personally experienced the oppression of the Palestinians. “There is currently one checkpoint that you have to pass if you want to enter or leave Nablus. In principle we have the correct papers, but now we had to deal with a commander at the checkpoint who apparently had slept very badly and did not even want to look at our papers,” says Ramaekers. “At one point he even pulled out a gun to literally threatening us away from the checkpoint.”
After several phone calls, the TV crew eventually managed to leave Nablus, but according to Ramaekers the incident illustrates what Palestinians have to deal with on a daily basis. “We can’t really imagine what it’s like for them to get in and out of their own city,” he said.
LOOK. Robin Ramaekers visits Nablus, the beating heart of the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation
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