Sec. Blinken had a plan for his visit to Jerusalem. Then he had to pivot
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to the Middle East has turned out to be about much more than he bargained for.
Who is he? A man caught in a moment.
What's the big deal? It hasn't exactly played out as Blinken first planned. This past week in Jerusalem has been particularly violent, after Israeli forces carried out their deadliest raid in the West Bank in years, killing nine Palestinians, including gunmen and a 61-year-old woman. Dozens more were injured.
What has Blinken said? In a press conference with Netanyahu on Monday, Blinken called for peace, but didn't provide many specifics:
"We're urging all sides now to take urgent steps to restore calm, to de-escalate. We want to make sure that there's an environment in which we can, I hope at some point, create conditions where we can start to restore a sense of security for Israelis and Palestinians alike, which of course is sorely lacking."
He also affirmed the United States' commitment to maintaining a close relationship with Israel:
"In the context of this attack and escalating violence, it's important that the government and people of Israel know America's commitment to their security remains ironclad. That commitment is backed up by nearly 75 years of U.S. support. America's commitment has never waivered, and never will."
Blinken also re-affirmed the call for a two-state solution, an outcome that is not popular with many members of Netanyahu's cabinet.
Good to meet with Israeli Prime Minister @netanyahu today in Jerusalem. We have an ironclad commitment to Israel’s security and look forward to working with the Prime Minister in support of the interests and values our nations have long shared. pic.twitter.com/ZEB8kd4rTO— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 30, 2023
So what now? Blinken is due to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to continue discussions.
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