U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up talks today in Israel before headed to Egypt, where he will meet with President el-Sissi and other top officials.
Yesterday Blinked met with PA President Abbas. He announced plans to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which has historically handled diplomatic outreach to the Palestinians. President Trump downgraded the consulate and placed its operations under his ambassador to Israel when he moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem. Blinken also announced nearly $40 million in additional aid to the Palestinians, which brings the total aid promised by the Biden administration to $360 million.
In his meeting with Abbas in Ramallah, Blinken committed to “rebuilding the relationship with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people, a relationship built on mutual respect and also a shared conviction that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of security, freedom opportunity and dignity.”
During his meeting with PM Netanyahu, Blinken repeatedly affirmed what he said was Israel’s right to defend itself and said the U.S. would assist Israel in replenishing its Iron Dome rocket-interception system.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will meet with PM Netanyahu and DM Gantz in Jerusalem, and with Palestinian leaders in Ramallah today, on a one-day visit to Israel.
Israel has reported that it killed 225 terrorists, including 25 senior commanders, during the recent 11 days of fighting. It also destroyed over 100km of tunnels. It tried twice to kill Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, but did not succeed. To watch an interview with an Israeli air force pilot, click here.
During an interview with Israeli TV, the director of the Gazan branch of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) called the IDF strikes in Gaza “precise”. He said, “I have the impression that there is a huge sophistication in the way the Israeli military struck over the last 11 days, so that’s not my issue.” After calls for his resignation, he backtracked…but the truth is out.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech Tuesday on the anniversary of the IDF’s withdrawal from south Lebanon 21 years ago, during which he looked ill and weak, coughing throughout the 90 minute event. He called for a regional war against Israel and claimed that “the latest battle revived historic Palestine from the sea to the river and reflected a rise of faith in the choice of resistance.”
Hundreds of police were deployed in Jaffa, as part of a nationwide crackdown on civilians suspected of having taken part in the recent riots around the country.
In my opinion:
The biggest problem that Israel faces today is not Hamas or the Palestinians. It is Israel’s 2 million Arab citizens. I believe that the primary reason that Hamas decided to attack Israel now was to unleash the growing unrest within Israel’s Arab community and to cause them to unite with the Palestinians. I also think that the main reason Israel agreed to a ceasefire, before it could inflict more damage on Hamas, was not as a result of international pressure, which actually wasn’t that great at this time, but because it felt that more fighting in Gaza would cause greater unrest by Israel’s Arabs. To read more, click here.