US working intensively to stop Israel-Gaza fighting
US SECRETARY OF STATE Antony Blinken testifies before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs in Washington earlier this month.
(photo credit: KEN CEDENO/REUTERS)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US was working round the clock to help put an end to the violence but gave few details.
COPENHAGEN - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday the United States was working "intensively" to end violence between Israel and Palestinian militants, and rejected suggestions that Washington was blocking diplomacy at the United Nations.
Blinken also said during a visit to Denmark that he had not seen any evidence provided by Israel on suggestions that Hamas was operating out of a building housing media outlets - including the US-based Associated Press - which was destroyed in an Israeli missile strike at the weekend.
He said it would be up to others to weigh on intelligence matters.
Israel said its fighter jets struck a multi-storey building "which contained military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of the Hamas terror organization."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS broadcaster on Sunday that Israel would provide such proof through "intelligence services". It was not clear whether Israel provided that to the United States.
Blinken said the United States was working round the clock to help put an end to the violence but gave few details.
"We're not standing in the way of diplomacy, on the contrary we are exercising it virtually non-stop," Blinken told a news conference with Denmark's foreign minister when asked why the United States had blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning Israel's military response.
Washington, a strong ally of Israel, has been isolated at the United Nations over its objection to a public statement by the Security Council because it worries it could harm diplomacy behind the scenes.
Blinken said Israel has the right to defend itself, but that he had been alarmed that journalists and medical workers had been put at risk, in particular after Israel destroyed the tower block in Gaza housing a number of media outlets.
The United States has requested additional details from Israel regarding the attack, Blinken said.
"Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it. I wouldn’t want to weigh in on intelligence matters in this forum, it’s not my place. I will leave it to others to characterize if any information has been shared and our assessment of that information," he said.IDF SPOKESPERSON Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman on Sunday deflected criticism of the military's actions in the Gaza Strip, particularly the bombing of the Al Jala building with media offices on Saturday.
Magen David Adom rescue services said that 10 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the fighting and another 306 have been injured to varying degrees. One soldier has been killed.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, 181 people have been killed since the fighting began, including 52 children and 31 women. Another 1200 have been injured.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.