Blinken and Israeli Leaders Discuss Ceasefire Amid Ongoing Gaza Conflict

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday in an effort to negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. This negotiation is part of broader efforts by the U.S., Qatar, and Egypt to address the conflict in Gaza, with the meeting having been delayed for several months.

Blinken’s visit to the Middle East aims to build support for a proposed three-phase ceasefire plan. The multi-stage plan, presented by U.S. President Joe Biden, was clarified by the UN Security Council on Monday in New York. Although the U.S. reported that only the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement had not agreed to the plan, the Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has yet to give its clear and public approval.

Starting his tour in Egypt on Monday, Blinken later met with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem. According to a statement from the U.S. State Department, Blinken assured Netanyahu that “the United States and other world leaders will stand behind the comprehensive proposal outlined by President Biden.” Blinken also briefed Netanyahu on ongoing diplomatic efforts to plan for the post-conflict period.

During his visit, Blinken also met opposition leader Yair Lapid and Israeli lawmaker Benny Gantz, who recently left the Israeli emergency government formed after the October 7 attacks. Blinken’s Middle East tour, which includes a stop in Qatar, is expected to last until Wednesday.v

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