U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began a Middle East visit in Israel this morning, seeking to bolster its ceasefire with Gaza’s ruling Hamas group and help speed humanitarian aid to the devastated Palestinian enclave.
In tandem with Blinken’s mission, Israeli authorities said they were allowing fuel, medicine and food earmarked for Gaza’s private sector to enter the territory for the first time since 11 days of cross-border hostilities ended on May 10.
Blinken was also due to visit Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Cairo and Amman, with the United States harbouring “every hope and expectation” the ceasefire would continue to hold, a senior State Department official said.
“Our primary focus is on maintaining the ceasefire, getting the assistance to the people who need it,” said the official, who spoke on Monday (May 24) on the condition of anonymity. Egypt brokered the truce, in coordination with the United States.
Blinken, due to remain in the region through Thursday, planned to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah later on Tuesday.