Home News Blinken to visit Israel and three Arab countries next week

Blinken to visit Israel and three Arab countries next week


Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken plans to visit Israel and three Arab countries next week as the United States urges Israel to reach a ceasefire with Hamas to end the Gaza war.

Blinken plans to visit Israel, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan from Monday to Wednesday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement on Friday. It is Blinken’s eighth visit to the region since the war was sparked by an Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack, and comes at a particularly tense time.

The Biden administration is trying to stop the Gaza war in the hope of freeing Israeli hostages (and some Israeli-Americans) held by Hamas and ending a conflict that has caused heavy casualties, wreaked havoc on much of Gaza and put political pressure on President Biden to limit U.S. arms deliveries to Israel.

Relations between the Biden administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were particularly strained following Biden’s decision to suspend the delivery of 2,000 pounds of U.S. bombs, a move designed to ensure they would not be used in a “full-scale invasion” of the Gaza city of Rafah, which Biden had said he opposed.

Blinken’s trip also comes amid growing concerns about a possible escalation of fighting along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran. The exchange of fire has prompted evacuations of residents on both sides of the border.

Miller said in a statement that the ceasefire would “create the possibility of achieving calm along Israel’s northern border – so that displaced Israeli and Lebanese families can return to their homes.”

Qatar and Egypt serve as mediators between Hamas and Israel, respectively, but the two sides do not negotiate directly.

Israel’s relations with Egypt have recently become strained because Seizing “tactical control” of Egypt-Gaza border buffer zoneknown as the Philadelphia Corridor.

In Jordan, Blinken is expected to attend a conference on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza co-hosted by Jordan, Egypt and the United Nations.

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