U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to embark on a five-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Israel, and the West Bank, marking his fifth visit to the region since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack against Israel. The primary objectives of the visit include ongoing efforts to secure the release of remaining hostages held by Hamas and implementing a ceasefire for increased humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza civilians.
Blinken stated on social media, “I am returning to the Middle East this coming week to continue working with our partners on how to achieve durable peace in the region, with lasting security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
This diplomatic initiative takes place against the backdrop of a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with hundreds of thousands facing potential famine. Several donor countries, including the United States, have suspended funding to UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, following Israel’s accusations against 12 members of the organization for participating in the Oct. 7 attacks.
Blinken, acknowledging the credibility of Israeli information, aims to address the crisis and work towards a sustainable peace in the region. The U.N. agency has urged the resumption of funding, emphasizing its critical role in the survival of over 2 million Gazans.