U.S. opposes displacement of Palestinians, Blinken assures Jordan's King

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured Jordan's King Abdullah on Sunday that Washington opposes the forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza or the occupied West Bank, as he hoped to kickstart talks on Gaza's future, News.az reports.

The King had raised Jordan's concerns over displacement in the meeting, according to a palace statement, as Israel pushes on with its military campaign that has turned much of Gaza to rubble and left its 2.3 million residents on the verge of starvation, according to aid workers.

In his meeting with King Abdullah in Amman, Blinken "stressed U.S. opposition to forcible displacement of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza and the critical need to protect Palestinian civilians in the West Bank from extremist settler violence," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Most of Gaza's residents have been displaced by the conflict, and violence has also flared in the West Bank, including in a deadly clash in the city of Jenin on Sunday.

Blinken is touring the region amid heightened fears Israel's offensive against Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza will spark a broader regional conflagration.

The trip comes after a drone strike in Beirut killed a senior Hamas leader and Israel exchanged fire with Iran-backed militia Hezbollah across its northern border with Lebanon. Washington is also rallying allies to deter attacks on Red Sea shipping by Houthi militants who control most of Yemen.

Blinken arrived in Jordan late on Saturday and met King Abdullah on Sunday before traveling to Qatar for meetings with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, who also serves as foreign minister.

In Doha, Blinken will discuss efforts to free the more than 100 hostages still believed to be held by Hamas after an earlier agreement mediated by Qatar broke down, a senior State Department official said.

Blinken will end the day in the United Arab Emirates.

Washington wants Israel's Arab neighbors to play a role in reconstruction, governance and security in Gaza in expectation that Israel's assault will eliminate Hamas, which has run the territory since 2007.

The U.S. delegation aims to gather Arab states' views on the future of Gaza before taking those positions to Israel, the U.S. official said, acknowledging that stances would be far apart.

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