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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to revisit Israel following his diplomatic engagements with several Arab nations.
Having arrived in Israel last Thursday amid heightened conflict and Israel’s preparation for a ground offensive in Gaza, Blinken has since traveled to several countries including Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. His diplomatic visits aim to contain the conflict and prevent it from expanding across the region.
Blinken emphasized, “There’s a determination in every country I went to, to make sure that this conflict doesn’t spread.” Highlighting their collective approach, he added, “They are using their own influence, their own relationships, to try to make sure that this doesn’t happen.”
On Sunday, Blinken met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, followed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Both leaders openly critiqued Israel’s response, stating on televised remarks, “The (Israeli) reaction went beyond the right to self-defense, turning into collective punishment for 2.3 million people in Gaza.”
As the situation continues to escalate, the US has deployed two major aircraft carrier battle groups to the region as a deterrent. Blinken said, “No one should do anything that could add fuel to the fire in any other place.” Before leaving for Cairo, he labeled his discussions with the Saudi crown prince as “very productive” and mentioned the imminent reopening of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
Stressing the importance of humanitarian aid, Blinken said, “We are now very actively engaged…to make sure to the best of our ability that people can get out of harm’s way and that the assistance they need, the food and water and medicine, can get in.”