Arab countries do not want to rebuild Gaza if it is 'leveled again': Blinken

Arab countries do not want to rebuild Gaza if it is 'leveled again': Blinken

Top US diplomat says Arab, Muslim countries prepared to integrate Israel into region but equally committed to pathway to Palestinian state

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Arab countries do not want to get into the "business of rebuilding Gaza" if the enclave is "leveled again" in a year, stressing the importance of resolving the Palestinian question.

"Arab countries are saying this – they’re saying: look, we’re not going to get into the business – for example – of rebuilding Gaza only to have it leveled again — in a year or five years, and then be asked to rebuild it again," Blinken said in an interview with CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"We’ve got to also get to the fundamentals. And in terms of Israel’s own security, the Arab piece of the equation, and the Palestinian piece, that’s the way to true, lasting security," he added.

"You’re in a place right now where, again, Arab countries, including countries like Saudi Arabia, are prepared to do things in their relationship with Israel they were never prepared to do before," Blinken said. "That opens up an entirely different future, a much more secure future. But you have to resolve the Palestinian question."

Blinken said that unlike any time in the past, Israel's Arab and Muslim neighbors are prepared to integrate Israel into the region, but "they’re equally committed to a pathway to a Palestinian state.”

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7 which Tel Aviv says killed 1,200 people.

At least 24,285 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and 61,154 injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

According to the UN, 85% of the population of Gaza is already internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure is damaged or destroyed.

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