Blinken to visit Israel this week, seeks to strengthen ceasefire

Last week, Blinken said the U.S. would be focusing on a two-state solution to the conflict.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Israel this week, with the goal of promoting dialogue and strengthening the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-based terror groups.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken “will meet with Israeli, Palestinian and regional counterparts in the coming days to discuss recovery efforts and working together to build better futures for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Blinken will land in Israel on Wednesday and will also visit two of Israel’s neighboring countries, Egypt and Jordan, a source told Reuters.

Those destinations have not yet been officially confirmed by the State Department.

During an interview on ABC last week, Blinken said the U.S. would be focusing on a two-state solution to the conflict.

“Look, ultimately, it is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state and, of course, the only way to give the Palestinians the state to which they’re entitled,” he said.

“That is where we have to go. We have to start putting in place the conditions that would allow both sides to engage in a meaningful and positive way toward two states.”

The emphasis on a two-state solution seems to be a return to American policy in the pre-Trump era.

Trump administration decisions included moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, and brokering peace deals between the Jewish State and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

Blinken leveled heavy criticism at Hamas, saying that they’d “brought nothing but ruin to the Palestinian people.”

He slammed “its gross mismanagement of Gaza while it has been in charge, and, of course, these indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians which have elicited the response that they did because Israel has a right to defend itself.”

Democratic Congresswoman and BDS supporter Rashida Tlaib (MI) came under fire in November 2020 for a tweet she wrote after Blinken was revealed as Biden’s likely pick for secretary of state.

Tlaib replied to a tweet by Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, calling Blinken a “solid choice” for the position.

“So long as he doesn’t suppress my First Amendment right to speak out against Netanyahu’s racist and inhumane policies,” Tlaib wrote in response. “The Palestinian people deserve equality and justice.”

The tweet sparked backlash from Jewish organizations, who questioned why the issue of Israel was immediately raised with the announcement of a Jewish nominee.