Antony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State, was reported by Reuters on Thursday to have arrived in Israel, as confirmed by an eyewitness.
Earlier this week, Haaretz newspaper had indicated that his visit was anticipated amid the ongoing intensification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Upon his arrival, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen warmly welcomed Blinken, as announced by the Foreign Ministry. It was revealed that the top U.S. diplomat would have a meeting with Cohen and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day.
In a statement, Minister Eli Cohen expressed his gratitude, saying, “The Israeli people will always remember the unwavering support the United States has shown us during these challenging times. I extend my thanks to my friend U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken, U.S. President Joe Biden, and all our friends in the U.S. for their clear support of Israel, their condemnation of terrorism, and their defense of Israel’s right to protect itself and its citizens.”
Following his visit to Israel, the U.S. Secretary of State is scheduled to have meetings with Jordanian King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as reported by I24News on Thursday. These meetings are expected to take place in the Jordanian capital of Amman.
On Wednesday, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly also paid a visit to Israel to meet with the country’s leadership and express London’s support for those affected by the conflict.
The recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was triggered when the Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7. In response, Israel declared a state of war the following day and initiated retaliatory strikes. Subsequently, on Monday, Israel imposed a complete blockade on the Gaza Strip, home to more than 2 million people, leading to the suspension of essential supplies such as water, food, and fuel.
Both Israel and Palestine have reported numerous casualties and injuries as a consequence of the heightened conflict. In response to the ongoing escalation, several countries worldwide have commenced evacuating their citizens from Israel.