U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken is meeting with Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on the second day of his Middle East tour as the Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds for a sixth day. On Tuesday, Blinken held separate meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during which he outlined the Biden administration’s goals in the region.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “First, to demonstrate the commitment of the United States to Israel’s security; second, to start to work toward greater stability and reduce tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem; third, to support urgent humanitarian and reconstuction assistance for Gaza to benefit the Palestinian people; and fourth, to continue to rebuild our relationship with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority.”
Blinken also announced the U.S. would reopen a consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians and send Palestinians an additional $112 million in aid money, including $5.5 million in immediate aid to Gaza, which is facing a humanitarian disaster. Oxfam is warning 400,000 people in Gaza do not have access to a regular water supply after Israel bombed key parts of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the State Department has reportedly approved the sale of $735 million worth of bombs to Israel despite congressional opposition.