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SWEIMEH, Jordan – Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced an additional $404 million in aid for Gaza during a speech in Jordan on Tuesday and called on Hamas to accept the current ceasefire proposal in talks with Middle East leaders “without delay.”

Blinken, who is traveling across the Middle East to push for a deal and hostage exchange in Gaza after months of violence and a high death toll, received a boost on Monday from a U.S.-sponsored U.N. Security Council resolution backing the plan. Hamas welcomed the resolution.

On Tuesday, Blinken met with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa. During the talks, Blinken stressed that “the current proposal would benefit both Israelis and Palestinians,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

Blinken and the officials spoke about the importance of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the need to reach a ceasefire that would ensure the release of all hostages and allow displaced people to return to their homes, Miller said. The officials also discussed the future of the enclave, including reconstruction, governance and security.

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During his meeting with Mustafa, Blinken “reiterated the United States’ support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel,” Miller said. Blinken also met with King Abdullah II of Jordan, whom he thanked for his support of the agreement and his help in delivering aid to Gaza. Blinken also reiterated the U.S. commitment to “achieving lasting peace and security in the region,” Miller said.

“The hospitals in Gaza are unable to operate and provide aid,” Blinken said, calling on other nations to increase support for the enclave. “We need to make sure more aid is delivered to Gaza,” he said, noting that the new pledge of nearly half a billion in aid comes on top of the more than $1.8 billion the United States has provided to the Palestinians since 2021.

The State Department said the additional U.S. funding for Gaza would “provide critical assistance to vulnerable Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the region, including food, clean drinking water, health care, protection, education, shelter and psychosocial support.”

Hamas said on Monday it was ready to resume negotiations on the ceasefire plan approved by President Biden on May 31. The group also welcomed the Security Council resolution supporting the proposal.

“Hamas stresses its readiness to cooperate with the mediators and to engage in indirect negotiations on the implementation of these principles,” the statement said.

On Tuesday, Hamas official Osama Hamdan reiterated his support for the Security Council resolution, telling al-Araby television that the “resolution, despite its shortcomings, confirms a permanent cessation of fighting and the withdrawal of the occupation from the Gaza Strip.” The decision, he added, would not be implemented on the ground until Israel approves it.

The proposed agreement would begin with a six-week ceasefire that would include the withdrawal of Israeli troops from densely populated areas of Gaza, the release of all women, elderly and children held hostage in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the return of displaced Palestinians to their homes throughout Gaza, and an increase in humanitarian aid to the starving enclave.

Asked whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would stick to the deal if Hamas agreed, Blinken said he was confident the Israeli leader would do so.

He underlined his view that Hamas would be responsible for all the bloodshed in Gaza if it did not agree to the latest proposal. “If Hamas does not say yes, then the responsibility is clearly on them,” Blinken said.

On Monday, Blinken warned that Hamas was the only obstacle to reaching an agreement, despite fears that both Hamas and Netanyahu could obstruct the proposal, which President Biden first made public on May 31.

During his visit to Israel, Blinken also met with National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz, who resigned from Netanyahu’s war cabinet on Sunday. He criticized the prime minister for focusing on “empty promises” of “total victory” instead of trying to reach a deal that would see the hostages released. Gantz also sharply criticized Netanyahu for not working sufficiently on a “day-after” plan for Gaza and failing to counter the threat posed by Lebanon’s Hezbollah in the north.

At their meeting, Gantz stressed the importance of “exerting maximum pressure on the negotiators to obtain Hamas’s consent to release the hostages.”

Blinken also met with opposition leader Yair Lapid, who also stressed the need for an agreement on the hostages. “None of us will sleep or be silent, and we will not stop until there is an agreement,” he tweeted after the meeting.

There are still 120 hostages being held in the Gaza Strip. At least a third of them are believed to be dead, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel’s operation to free four hostages, in which nearly 300 Palestinians were killed, could amount to a war crimethe United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday. Spokesman Jeremy Laurence said the “manner in which the raid was carried out in such a densely populated area raises serious doubts as to whether the Israeli forces respected the principles of distinction, proportionality and caution….” He also said that Hamas’s hostage-taking in such densely populated areas had endangered the lives of both Palestinian civilians and the hostages themselves. “All of these actions by both parties may constitute war crimes,” Laurence said.

On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he welcomed the peace initiative outlined by Biden and called on the parties to “fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law.” Guterres said it was “high time for a ceasefire in Gaza and the unconditional release of all hostages.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi demanded that Israel end its “hunger policy toward the Palestinians.” during a visit to Jordan. “The unprecedented humanitarian crisis that the Gaza Strip is experiencing is a direct responsibility of the Israeli occupation,” he said during a conference focused on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of the war, at least 37,164 people have been killed and 84,832 injured in Gazaaccording to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and fighters but says the majority of the dead are women and children. Israel estimates that about 1,200 people were killed in the October 7 Hamas attack, including more than 300 soldiers, and it says 298 soldiers have been killed since military operations began in Gaza.

Dadouch reported from Beirut. Hassan reported from Washington. Alon Rom in Tel Aviv contributed to this report.

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