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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel, talks with leaders to stop Gaza war from escalating

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Israel to meet with Israeli leaders who have shown resistance to pressure from Washington over handling the conflict with Hamas. Blinken’s goal is to deescalate the Gaza conflict and prevent it from developing into a broader regional crisis.

The meeting coincides with the Israeli military’s announcement to continue its fight against Hamas throughout the year. Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv late Monday and began discussions to update Israeli officials on the results of his two-day talks with Arab leaders. He flew in from the Saudi Arabian city of AlUla, where he held discussions with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of his broader Middle East tour aimed at building consensus on the future of Gaza.

During his visit, Blinken announced that major Arab states and Turkey had reached an agreement that plans for the reconstruction and governance of Gaza would begin after Israel ends its military campaign against Hamas. These diplomatic efforts are critical in untangling the complex dynamics surrounding the conflict and ensuring a coordinated approach towards the post-conflict scenario in the region.

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The Secretary of State highlighted that Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey had agreed to work together and coordinate efforts to help stabilize and recover Gaza. Their goal is to chart a political path forward for the Palestinians and work toward long-term peace, security, and stability throughout the region.

Blinken expressed his intention to pressure the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “do more to protect civilians and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches those who need it.”

He noted that the Saudis and other Arab leaders are still interested in normalizing relations with Israel, but only based on a permanent Israeli-Palestinian political agreement. Blinken stressed that the region has a clear interest in normalization, which is dependent on an end to the conflict in Gaza and the establishment of a practical path to Palestinian statehood.

According to Reuters, the ongoing Israeli offensive has resulted in the deaths of more than 23,000 Palestinians, causing widespread destruction in the coastal region and displacement of most of the population of 2.3 million, worsening the humanitarian crisis.

In a recent development, Israel on Monday reportedly targeted and killed a senior commander of Hamas’ key ally Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Additionally, Israel is conducting a series of deadly attacks in Syria, focusing on cargo trucks, infrastructure and individuals linked to Iran’s arms supply route to its affiliate groups in the region, according to Reuters. have been reported.

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