17 May 2024, 10:20

US says Arab-proposed peacekeepers could hinder anti-Hamas campaign

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - The United States said Thursday that a UN peacekeeping force in the Palestinian territories proposed by the Arab League could compromise Israel's effort to defeat Hamas but stopped short of opposing it.

At a summit in Bahrain, the 22-member grouping called for "international protection and peacekeeping forces of the United Nations in the occupied Palestinian territories" until a two-state solution is implemented.

Asked about a potential force, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said, "This is something that we know that Israel is focused on -- in working to defeat Hamas."

"Candidly, the addition of additional security forces could potentially put that mission into compromise," he told reporters.

But he said that the United States did not yet have a "conclusive assessment" of the summit's statement and suggested that a force could be more acceptable once a ceasefire is in place.

"We have, first and foremost, been focused on bringing a conclusion to this conflict," Patel said.

"Many partners that both in and out of the Arab world share our concerns and share a willingness to play a constructive role when conditions allow," he said.

The United States is the primary supporter of Israel but has been increasingly critical of its military campaign due to its toll on civilians. President Joe Biden has made clear he will not send US troops to the conflict.


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