TEL AVIV, Israel — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Israel for urgent talks with Israeli officials about their escalating war with Hamas in Gaza.
Blinken landed in Tel Aviv on Friday for his third trip to Israel since the war began with Hamas’ incursion into Israel on Oct. 7. Blinken will also visit Jordan and may make additional stops in the region before traveling to Asia early next week.
He will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials at a highly charged and sensitive time as Israel intensifies its military operations in Gaza and international criticism of its tactics increases over the large number of civilian casualties.
U.S. President Biden has called for a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting in order to arrange the evacuation of dual citizens and foreigners still trapped in Gaza as well as to try to secure the release of more than 240 hostages Hamas is holding and to increase humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.
Blinken will again stress Israel’s right to defend itself but will also be making the case for Israel to respect the rules of war as well as consider postwar scenarios for how the territory can be run if and when it succeeds in eradicating Hamas.
For the past week, the U.S. administration has been pushing a two-state resolution to establish a durable and lasting peace, although neither the current Israeli nor Palestinian leaderships have shown interest in such negotiations, which have failed multiple times.
Blinken will also urge Israeli authorities to rein in violence against Palestinians in the West Bank by Jewish settlers.