US President Joe Biden’s top adviser on the Middle East said on Saturday the release of hostages held by the Palestinian militant group Hamas would lead to a surge in the delivery of humanitarian aid and significant pause in fighting in Gaza.
“The hostages are released, you will see a significant, significant change,” Brett McGurk said at the IISS Manama Dialogue security summit in Bahrain.
Bahrain’s crown prince, speaking at the summit on Friday, called on Hamas to release Israeli women and children held hostage and for Israel in exchange to release from its prisons Palestinian women and children who he said were non-combatants.
Jordan’s foreign minister told the summit on Saturday that he did not understand how Israel’s goal of obliterating Hamas it is fighting in Gaza could be achieved.
“Israel says it wants to wipe out Hamas. There’s a lot of military people here, I just don’t understand how this objective can be realised,” Ayman Safadi said.
He warned Jordan would do “whatever it takes to stop” the displacement of Palestinians, amid heavy Israeli bombardment of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in retaliation for an October 7 attack by Hamas and other Islamist militants.
“We will never allow that to happen, in addition to it being a war crime, it would be a direct threat to our national security. We’ll do whatever it takes to stop it,” Safadi said.
The Israel-Gaza war has reawakened long-standing fears in Jordan, home to a large population of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. They fear that Israel could expel Palestinians en masse from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians have surged since the October 7 attack.
“This war is not taking us anywhere but towards more conflict, more suffering and the threat of expanding into regional wars,” said Safadi.
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