Blinken meets Netanyahu

US Secretary of State will also meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas


In the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas conflict, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has started a series of meetings in Jerusalem aimed at securing the ceasefire.

He began this morning with a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Afterwards, the two men stood together and hailed a constructive discussion. Mr Blinken called it a “very, very good conversation.” 

Mr Blinken said that US President Joe Biden had sent him to Jerusalem “to demonstrate the commitment of the United States to Israel security.” Other reasons for the trip are work towards “greater stability” including in the West Bank and Jerusalem, to support Gaza reconstruction, and to “rebuild” the US relationship with the Palestinian Authority. 

This final priority was a veiled swipe at the Trump administration, which the PA shunned to protest its Middle East policy, leaving US-PA relations at rock bottom. 

Mr Blinken said that in the latest fighting, “losses on both sides were profound,” and cited the Talmudic dictum that every loss of life is the loss of an entire world, saying this should underscore the sense of tragedy on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side. 

He said that President Biden made it “crystal clear” throughout the fighting that he fully supports Israel’s right to self-defence in the face of Hamas rockets. Talking about Israel’s security needs he said the US will “continue to strengthen all aspects” of the US-Israel partnership. He also said that the two countries will work together to counter Iran’s “destabilizing” influence in the region. 

He promised that America will “rally international support” for Gaza reconstruction, while ensuring that aid does not benefit Hamas. 

Addressing the internal violence witnessed between Arabs and Jews in Israel as the Gaza conflict raged, Mr Blinken  said that “healing these wounds will take leadership at every level.” 

Mr Blinken echoed President Biden’s condemnation of the antisemitic backlash seen internationally to the Gaza conflict. Mr Netanyahu responded, saying: ““Thank you and the president for your strong statements against antisemitism — “masquerading as anti-Zionism but it’s antisemitism. You took a bold position, a clear position, and we appreciate it. I think all decent people, decent people everywhere, appreciate that stance.”

Mr Blinken is expected to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this afternoon, in an encounter that will be heavily focussed on trying to rebuild US-PA trust. 



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