In Congress, hecklers call Blinken a war criminal; US secretary of state says ICC decision harms chances for Gaza truce deal

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that a Gaza ceasefire deal was still possible but he charged that an International Criminal Court arrest bid for Israeli leaders was setting back efforts.

Blinken was opening two days of testimony before Congress that were immediately disrupted by protesters, with two demonstrators shouting that the top US diplomat was a “war criminal” over support to Israel as they were escorted out by police.

Blinken credited Qatar and Egypt with assisting the “extensive effort” to secure a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in return for the release of hostages.

But CIA Director Bill Burns, the US point man in the talks, left the region empty-handed some 10 days ago.

“I think we’ve come very, very close on a couple of occasions,” Blinken tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We remain at it every single day. I think that there’s still a possibility,” Blinken says.

“But it’s challenged by a number of events and I have to say, yes the extremely wrongheaded decision by the ICC prosecutor yesterday — the shameful equivalence implied between Hamas and the leadership of Israel — I think that only complicates the prospects for getting such an agreement,” Blinken says.

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