Skip to main content

War on Gaza: Blinken expected to visit Israel, Middle East, says report

Visit comes as US, Israel at odds over post-war Gaza plans and return of Palestinian Authority to Gaza
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken talks to reporters before boarding his plane at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, on his way to Middle East and Asia, on 2 November (Jonathan Ernst/AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to take a trip to the Middle East to discuss the latest developments in Israel's war on Gaza, Axios reported on Wednesday, citing several American, Israeli, and Arab officials.

The news site reported that Blinken was expected in Israel late next week and that his visit would also include trips to the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

A State Department spokesperson told Middle East Eye that the department has "nothing to preview or announce regarding Secretary Blinken's travel and schedule".

The reported travel plans would be the secretary of state's fifth visit to Israel since the war began on 7 October.

Axios reported that on Tuesday Blinken met with Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer in Washington.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


Dermer outlined Israel's plans for a "lower intensity" Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, which Israeli officials aim to start at the end of January. The US has been publicly and privately calling on Israel to switch its tactics.

Israel's plan for post-war Gaza governance was another topic that Dermer discussed with Biden administration officials, according to the report.

Follow Middle East Eye's live coverage of the Israel-Palestine war

While both the US and Israel don't want Hamas to govern Gaza, both countries are at odds over the Palestinian Authority's (PA) return to the territory.

The Biden administration has called for a reformed version of the PA, which has limited governing power in the occupied West Bank, to return to Gaza. An Egyptian peace proposal has called for a transitional government to govern Gaza, comprised of both Hamas and the PA.

"The expectation that the Palestinian Authority will demilitarize Gaza is a pipe dream," Netanyahu said, in an editorial published on Monday in the Wall Street Journal.

Netanyahu also appeared to declare the future Israeli re-occupation of Gaza, saying Israel would retain "overriding security responsibility" in Gaza for "the foreseeable future".

Still, despite their disagreement as to what a post-war Gaza would look like, Washington has continued its steadfast backing of Israel's military campaign.

At the UN last week, the US leveraged its veto power and caused diplomats to delay a vote on a ceasefire resolution multiple times. When the measure was finally voted on, it no longer included language calling for the ceasefire. The US did not vote in favour of the resolution and instead abstained from the vote.

The Biden administration has also rushed to send arms shipments to Israel, including bypassing Congress earlier this month to send thousands of tank shells to the Israeli military.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.