The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, has extended his time in the Middle East following visits with Arab Leaders. A return to Israel has been added to the itinerary after a quick run which saw him visit six countries in the region.
The aim of the visit is to keep nations out of the Israel-Hamas conflict, preventing a large scale, protracted war in the Middle East. Following the onset of the conflict, Anthony Blinken called on his Chinese counterpart to exercise influence in the region.
The Chinese stated that the US must lead the way in finding a resolution through political means. This leaves the United States with the initiative to pursue diplomatic solutions, something that nations around the world have been calling for.
Anthony Blinken returns to Israel on Monday after spending Sunday in Cairo. He spent time with the President of Egypt, another state that borders the Gaza Strip. President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Blinken will have discussed the Israeli army’s ground offensive which is a foregone conclusion by now.
According to el-Sissi, Israel’s current offensive in Gaza has crossed the bounds of “self-defense” and has turned into a “collective punishment”.
These thoughts have been echoed by the other Arab leaders who met with Blinken as well. He has been in touch with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. He has also met leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
The United States have shown solidarity with the people and the state of Israel while pledging their support to the nation following the attack.
Blinken also reached out to the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, seeking support in keeping neighboring nations from joining the conflict.
Despite all the diplomacy, Israel’s plans to eradicate Hamas are underway as constant airstrikes are sent their way. Palestinians have been asked to evacuate in the millions, something that has irked Arab leaders.
President Biden’s National Security Advisor has stated that the United States have refrained from making requests or demands regarding Israel’s military operations. He also spoke of the need for respecting civilian life, something he believes sets democracies apart from the terrorists.
He also focused on allowing civilians to have access to food, shelter, safety and medicine. This approach marks a shift in tact from the United States, which has been hearing the concerns of Arab nations.
The main aim now is to avoid a humanitarian disaster occurring due to the conflict, the signs of which are quite evident.
Having voiced these concerns, it must be noted that the United States authorities have decided request the Congress for funds which will act as a combined aid package for both Israel and Ukraine. The sum is said to be significantly beyond $2 billion.
“But it will certainly include the necessary military equipment to defend freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity in Ukraine, and to help Israel defend itself.”
The United States have also made it a point to warn Iran to stay out of the conflict while the meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salm was described as being “very productive”.
Iran responded by saying that there would be “far reaching consequences” if Israel continued its bombardment. It is being seen as an indirect message of intent from the Iranians if shelling continues in the region.
The Saudi Crown Prince stressed the need for finding a peaceful solution to the conflict and lifting the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Following a meeting with the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan, Anthony Blinken stated that protecting civilians on either side of the conflict is the top priority.