Secretary of State Antony Blinken is headed to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the war in Gaza and what will come afterwards if Israel is successful in rooting out Hamas.
US officials told Axios that Blinken will discuss the idea of “temporary pauses” in Israel’s operations to facilitate aid deliveries and potentially more hostage releases. The Biden administration is carefully avoiding the word “ceasefire” as it’s determined to continue supporting the war.
Israel’s Kan News reported that Netanyahu is considering US requests for temporary pauses, but nothing is confirmed. Publicly, Israeli officials have said there will be no ceasefire of any kind.
Before leaving for Israel on Thursday, Blinken told reporters he will focus on steps that need to be taken to protect civilians “who are in a crossfire of Hamas’s making.” But there’s no sign the US is pressuring Israel to change its indiscriminate tactics. When asked about the massive child casualties this week, the Pentagon said there were “no limits” on how Israel uses US-provided weapons.
Blinken also stressed discussions about a post-war Gaza. “We’re focused on the day of; we also need to be focused on the day after,” he said. “So in conversations that we’ll be having through the course of this weekend, I expect you’ll see a focus there and particularly how we can get, over time, to two states for two peoples.”
A leaked document prepared by Israel’s Intelligence Ministry revealed that Netanyahu’s government is considering a plan to cleanse Gaza by pushing all of its residents into the Sinai Peninsula. A major impediment to the Israeli proposal is Egypt’s vehement opposition.