Blinken to return to Middle East amid Israel-Hamas War

November 2, 2023

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading back to the Middle East in a diplomatic effort to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from escalating into a wider regional conflict.

Blinken was departing Thursday to arrive in Tel Aviv on Friday.

Last month, in the days immediately after Hamas’ massive October 7 surprise attack on Israel, Blinken traveled to the region, including stops in Israel, Qatar and Bahrain.

The United States’ top diplomat will visit both Israel and Jordan starting Friday as the conflict intensifies and the issues grow more complex. 

Blinken will push for the evacuation of more foreigners from Gaza and more humanitarian aid to be allowed into the territory.

Blinken’s trip will begin just days after President Biden on Wednesday night said he believed there should be a humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas war to get the more-than 220 Hamas-held hostages out of Gaza.

During his trip Blinken is also expected to press Israel to rein in violence perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. At least 115 Palestinians in that territory on Israel’s eastern border have been killed, including at least 33 children, while more than 2,000 Palestinians have been injured and nearly 1,000 others forcibly displaced from their homes since October 7, according to the United Nations.

Further, Blinken plans to introduce a new issue into the conversation: the need for Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East to begin figuring out what a post-conflict Gaza will look like, who will govern it once Hamas is eradicated, how it can be made secure and how to establish an independent Palestinian state.

PHOTO: Antony Blinken news conference in Tel Aviv Oct 12

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