Some Palestinian Americans reject invitation to meet Blinken By Reuters

©Reuters. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference held by him and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (not pictured) at the State Department in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

By Kanishka Singh and Humeyra Pamuk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some members of the Palestinian American community who received an invitation to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday declined the invitation due to their frustration with Washington’s policy toward the conflict and crisis in Gaza .

“A gathering of this nature at this time is offensive and representative,” a group of members of the Palestinian American community said in a statement, adding that they represented the majority of those invited.

Members of the Arab, Palestinian and Muslim communities in the United States, as well as antiwar activists across the country, have protested American policy in the conflict in Gaza, where about 27,000 people, more than 1 percent of the 2.3 million Gazans died in the Israeli assault, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Israel launched its offensive in Hamas-ruled Gaza following the Palestinian Islamist group’s October 7 attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli counts. Israel’s military actions and attacks have leveled much of the densely populated enclave and displaced nearly its entire population, with many feared buried under the rubble.

“They (Blinken and President Joe Biden) show us every day whose lives they value and whose lives they consider disposable. We will not participate in this discussion which can only amount to a tick-box exercise,” the Palestinian American group said on Thursday. , adding that he considered Washington complicit in Israeli actions.

The humanitarian crisis has left Gaza on the brink of starvation. The United Nations called for a humanitarian ceasefire, which the United States opposed, saying it would allow Hamas to regroup.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson told reporters Thursday that Blinken met with a “number of leaders” from the Palestinian American community, without specifying how many were present.

Protests calling for a ceasefire in Gaza have recently occurred across the United States, including near airports and bridges in New York and Los Angeles, vigils outside the White House and marches in Washington.

Demonstrators also protested Biden speeches and campaign events, including in Michigan on Thursday.

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