update deskIsrael at War

Blinken to make hours-long stop in Israel during Mideast trip

The U.S. diplomat will discuss efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosts an International Women’s Day Reception at the Department of State in Washington, March 8, 2024. Photo by Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosts an International Women’s Day Reception at the Department of State in Washington, March 8, 2024. Photo by Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Israel on Friday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller confirmed on Wednesday.

The American diplomat will be on the ground for only a few hours before heading back to Washington.

Blinken was slated to hold ceasefire-for-hostages talks in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday before heading to Cairo on Thursday.

“The secretary will discuss efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages, intensified international efforts to increase humanitarian assistance to Gaza, and coordination on post-conflict planning for Gaza, including ensuring Hamas can no longer govern or repeat the attacks of October 7,” Miller said ahead of the trip.

Blinken will also discuss “a political path for the Palestinian people with security assurances with Israel, and an architecture for lasting peace and security in the region,” Miller added.

It is the secretary of state’s sixth trip to the Middle East since the Hamas-led massacre of Oct. 7.

Last week, Blinken said that protecting and aiding residents of Gaza is Israel’s primary mission as it wages war against Hamas.

“We look to the government of Israel to make sure this is a priority. Protecting civilians, getting people the assistance they need—that has to be job No. 1, even as they do what is necessary to defend the country and to deal with the threat posed by Hamas,” he said.

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