Blinken faces serious challenges because Biden refuses to identify ‘problem child’ Iran: Mike Pompeo
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discusses Antony Blinken’s visit to the Middle East, ISIS claiming responsibility for an attack in Iran and the anniversary of January 6th.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli leaders on Tuesday the Jewish state’s Arab neighbors may yet accept Israel if they can establish a viable Palestinian state.
Blinken visited Tel Aviv as part of a diplomatic mission in the Middle East to prevent war in Gaza from spreading into a regional conflict — his fourth such trip since the war started in October.
The top U.S. diplomat spoke with the Israeli war cabinet after several days of talks in Arab states including Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The message Arab leaders had for Israel, delivered by Blinken, was that integration with the rest of the Middle East is only possible if the war in Gaza ends and the Palestinian people are granted a viable path to statehood.
The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas started the war on Oct. 7, with a surprise attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies.
BLINKEN MEETS WITH TURKEY’S ERDOGAN AS MIDDLE EAST TENSIONS ESCALATE
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, during his week-long trip aimed at calming tensions across the Middle East, at David Kempinski Hotel, in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 9, 2024. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool)
Israel responded with an offensive in Gaza which Hamas officials claim has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, reduced much of the Gaza Strip to rubble and displaced a majority of the 2.3 million people living there, creating a humanitarian crisis. The numbers reported by Hamas do not distinguish between civilian and military casualties and cannot be independently verified.
Blinken had already said he would press Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on the “absolute imperative” to do more to protect Gaza’s civilians and allow humanitarian aid to reach them. His boss, President Joe Biden, said overnight that Washington was quietly pushing Israel to begin withdrawing some of its forces.
BIDEN INTERRUPTED BY ‘CEASE-FIRE NOW’ CHANTS, VOWS HE’S WORKING TO GET ISRAEL ‘OUT OF GAZA’
A Palestinian woman carries a child near the rubble of a house destroyed in an Israeli strike amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, January 9, 2024. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
Blinken’s meetings around the region have focused on trying to chart a longer-term approach to the decades-old Israel-Palestinian conflict, as part of a path toward ending the Gaza war. After he met with Arab allies, he said they wanted integration with Israel — a long-term Israeli aim — but only if that included a “practical pathway” to a Palestinian state.
“I know of your own efforts, over many years, to build much greater connectivity and integration in the Middle East, and I think there are actually real opportunities there,” he told Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz on Tuesday.
ISRAELI FORCES KILLED 40 HAMAS TERRORISTS, LOCATED WEAPONS CACHE AND UNDERGROUND TUNNEL IN LATEST OPERATION
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken walks during his week-long trip aimed at calming tensions across the Middle East, at David Kempinski Hotel, in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 9, 2024. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool)
“But we have to get through this very challenging moment and ensure that October 7 can never happen again and work to build a much different and much better future.”
Biden revealed the U.S. is urging Israel to withdraw some of its forces from Gaza on Monday night at a campaign event in Charleston, S.C.
As the president spoke at the site of the 2015 massacre where authorities said an admitted white supremacist shot and killed nine Black worshipers, a protester interrupted, shouting, “If you really care about the lives lost here, then you should honor the lives and call for a cease-fire in Palestine.”
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A group of demonstrators began shouting, “cease-fire now,” drowning out Biden.
“I understand their passion,” Biden said of the demonstrators, once things calmed down. “And I’ve been quietly working, I’ve been quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza using all that I can to do that. I understand the passion.”
Fox News Digital’s Danielle Wallace and Reuters contributed to this report.
Chris Pandolfo is a writer for Fox News Digital. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ChrisCPandolfo.